The editor-in-chief of the Orthodox encyclopedia Drevo, Alexander Ivanov, will be tried under the new law for “discrediting the Russian armed forces”, which represses anyone who publicly disagrees with the Russian war in Ukraine. This is clear from his announcement on the encyclopedia forum of July 1:
“Dear participants in the project “Tree”/”Drevo”! Next week I will stand trial on an article for discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation. For now, this is an administrative violation and a fine. I don’t consider myself guilty and I don’t regret anything. They heard me and that’s the most important thing. However, the second charge threatens me with a criminal case and imprisonment. I am not ready for this because my family is totally dependent on me. For this reason, I will be forced to delete my statement regarding the events in Ukraine.
We regret to announce the temporary suspension of the news section of our site. For fifteen years, we have been trying to collect the most important religious news in one newscast, trying to be objective, not glossing over issues and not passing over sensitive topics. However, under the current circumstances, reprinting information that is “wrong” from the authorities’ point of view can have unfortunate consequences for me as the site owner, and I do not want and will not maintain a smooth, polished flow of “correct” news. Therefore, I am forced to temporarily suspend the work of the news section until better times come. The encyclopedia itself continues to operate as usual.”
The Tree Orthodox Encyclopedia team was one of the first to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as early as February 25. Here is the statement that is about to be taken down:
“No to war!” Statement by the Editorial Board of the Tree Encyclopedia. On February 24, 2022, Russia begins a full-scale invasion of the territory of Ukraine under a fictitious pretext. This is not a “special operation”, this is war. The battles are fought by the regular armies of Russia and Ukraine. Since President Putin has declared that he has the support of the people, and the Russian church clergy is fearfully silent or content with general phrases (“to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties”), the editors of the encyclopedia “Tree” consider it their duty to state the following.
We are categorically against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There is no war in which civilians do not suffer. War is always blood, destruction, death and many broken human lives. The consequences of this madness, our disgrace, will be borne for a long time by our children and grandchildren.
Serbian Patriarch Pavle says: “The Serbian Church and I are accused of inciting war for the preservation of Greater Serbia. I declare that if a crime were required to preserve Greater Serbia, I would never consent to it. Then let Greater Serbia disappear. If it is necessary to save little Serbia in this way, I would not give my consent either. Let little Serbia also disappear, but let there be no blood! No, not at that price! If this price had to be paid for the last Serb, and if I myself were the last Serb, I could not give my consent. Let us disappear, but in this disappearance we will remain Christ’s people. Otherwise, we do not agree to live. This is the point, because we know that our ancestors, through many centuries of troubles and wars, have persevered in the truth, and we have all been preserved by Almighty God, Who is always on the side of good. And if we must suffer, it is better to bow our heads than to become inhuman.”
We demand that our authorities immediately cease hostilities and withdraw the army from the territory of Ukraine. It’s never too late to stop war. Freedom and peace for Ukraine!”.