What do Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov have in common with members of a satanic religious sect based in central Ukraine? They are all part of a broad movement to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, according to Russia's leading state-run broadcaster.
The August 17 report on Rossia 24 begins with news that a devil-worshipping religious sect has received permission from local authorities to build a church, focusing on footage of a lamb that is apparently about to be slaughtered in a ritual sacrifice.
But to reporter Nikolai Sokolov, the woolly ruminant is only the furriest of the many potential victims of the new pro-European Ukraine, which, he says, "is now an ideal laboratory for [religious] sects." And the trouble, he says, starts at the top.
"Where Kiev Rus was born the Russian Orthodox Church is losing numbers," he says, referring to the medieval Slavic state that laid the Orthodox foundations for modern-day Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. "Many politicians are of different religions. Oleksandr Turchynov, for instance, combines his activities in the parliament with meetings of Baptists. To them he isn't just a parishioner, but a spiritual teacher."