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Estonia opts not to extend residence permit of Russian-affiliated Estonian Orthodox Church leader, citing his support for war

Source: Meduza

The Estonian authorities will not renew the residence permit of Metropolitan Yevgeny (Valery Reshetnikov), the head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, according to Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR).

Indrek Aru, the head of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board’s Northern Prefecture, said the decision is a response to public statements Reshetnikov has made in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Despite previous warnings, Reshetnikov did not change his rhetoric, which was incompatible with the values and legal environment of Estonia. As a result, Reshetnikov has been recognized as a national security threat,” said the agency’s press service.

According to ERR, Reshetnikov has lived in Estonia under temporary residence permits for a total of four years. His residence was last extended two years ago, shortly before the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. His permit is set to expire on February 6.

In October 2022, Novaya Gazeta Baltija reported that Valery Reshetnikov had condemned the war in Ukraine and said he disagreed with Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill regarding God’s blanket forgiveness of the sins of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. The outlet cited a letter Reshetnikov sent to the Estonian Interior Ministry in response to the government’s questions about his attitude towards the war. The letter was also published on the Estonian Orthodox Church’s website, but it has since been removed.

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