How Russians deport Ukrainians and what the Russian Orthodox Church has to do with it

Preparation for deportation

Since February 24, 2022, when Russian troops invaded Ukraine, a part of territories in the North, South, and East of the country have been seized. After establishing the occupation regime, they resorted to criminal methods already known from history, namely: murder and rape of civilians, looting, destruction of infrastructure. Along with these deportation of civilians is used, which is one of the signs of genocide.

The Russian authorities carefully prepared for this process, developed ways to deport the population, built temporary accommodation facilities for deportees, and sought funding for their maintenance. Here the special emphasis is put on religious and ideological reprogramming of forcibly deported Ukrainians with special emphasis on «re-education» of children. For this they involve the Russian Orthodox Church. Confirmation of these facts can be found in the documents below.

The cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the  Russian Federation authorities is not new. Back in 2017, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow signed a cooperation agreement with the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia Vladimir Puchkov. Just after Russia has launched the  full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in March 2022, Bishop Panteleimon, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church, met with Lieutenant General Oleg Manuilov, Director of the Department of Civil Defense and Population Protection of the Russian Emergencies Ministry. The topic of their discussion was the terms of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

(Bishop Panteleimon at a meeting with Lieutenant General Oleg Manuilov discusses cooperation between the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Russian Orthodox Church)


This cooperation has the major role, since it was the Department of Church Charity and Social Service which received letters with all the documents on the so-called “evacuation” from the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia: the number of people who were “evacuated”, the train schedules  for transportation to the Russian Federation territory, files with information on the distribution of evacuees in temporary accommodation centers. Also, in the copy of these letters there is Polina Yuferyeva’s email address, who coordinates the sector of the organization of the Russian Orthodox Church assistance in emergency situations and closely cooperates with the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia. In particular, she received a letter with data on the number of deported Ukrainians who were taken to Russia, as well as the location of the accommodation centers where they will be resettled in the future.

(Screenshot of Polina Yufeeva’s test letter to the mail specially created for cooperation between the Department of Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia)


It should be noted that Russians do not define deported Ukrainians as deported, but use «refugees from Donbass» and «refugees from the conflict zone». Bishop Panteleimon personally gave such recommendations to his employees of the Department of Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church, which he told them at a private meeting in March 2022.

(Based on the database of the Department of Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church, disclosed by Anonymous)


(Number of people, according to the statistics of the Border Guard Service of the FSB of Russia as of 19.00, 24.02.2022. According to: slidstvo.info)


(Schedule of transportation of Ukrainian population from the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the territory of the Russian Federation. As of 6.00, 30.03.2022. According to: slidstvo.info).


Upon arrival of deported Ukrainians to the territory of the Russian Federation, they are placed in temporary accommodation centers (TACs). The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations has even developed special methodological documents on how to equip such centers, how many people can be accommodated there and in which conditions.

(Methodical recommendations on the organization and arrangement of temporary accommodation centers for refugees. Documents of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Russian Federation, Rostov-on-Don)


Resettlement of deported Ukrainians in the Russian Federation institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church

After being forcibly deported to the Russian Federation territory, Ukrainians are urged to register in the temporary accommodation center.

(Contact numbers to apply for registration in temporary accommodation centers)


(Description of living conditions in temporary accommodation centers in the Russian media)


The most well-known places of resettlement for deported Ukrainians are monasteries and charitable institutions of eparchies located in the border regions with Ukraine. Particularly, in the sports and recreation complex “Romashka”, Neklinovsky district, Rostov region. A post on the diaconia.ru website from February 28, 2022, mentioned the visit of Metropolitan Mercurius of Rostov to this institution and had a note on 500 children who were deported and displaced from two boarding schools and a social rehabilitation center from Donetsk region.

(Website помочьвбеде.рф, where they raise funds for deported Ukrainians)

Also, in a post from February 26, 2022, the  Moscow Patriarchate official website mentioned the placement of 30 deported Ukrainianson the territory of the Iveron Convent of the Rostov Diocese, 23 in Novocherkassk, 21 of whom are children from an orphanage from Donetsk region, 40 people in a church institution of the Shakhtyn Diocese of the Don Metropolis. The report on “refugee assistance” dated April 20, 2022 also indicates shelters in the village of Manichskaya, Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, church refugee accommodation centers in the Assumption Monastery of the Tver Diocese, the diocesan mother and child center in Belgorod, the Kovalevsky orphanage of the Kostroma Diocese.


Sources of funding

All fundraising to the church accounts of the Russian Orthodox Church can be carried out only with the permission of the church head, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. A letter from March 3, 2022, which was prepared and sent to the Moscow Patriarchate to the internal mail of the episcopate of the Russian Church, indicates the beginning of the collection of humanitarian aid for displaced Ukrainians, specifying what exactly needs to be collected and who is responsible for the implementation of this collection.

(Circular letter on collecting humanitarian aid for “refugees” signed by the ROC Chancellor Metropolitan Dionysius)


According to diaconia.ru, the official website of the Synodal Department for Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church, the total of collected funds as of November 22, 2022 was 249.3 million rubles, as indicated in the post “to help refugees and victims in the conflict zone”. Aside from this only for the period of March 2022 at least tens of millions of rubles were gathered. For example, five tons of humanitarian aid and 2.1 million rubles were collected from the Tver Diocese alone. From the Kuban Metropolis, which includes several dioceses, — 9 million rubles. Money is also sent by large business institutions, for example, Norilsk Nickel has allocated 4.4 million rubles to help.

Also, in 2022, a separate Internet platform was created,  positioned as a hotline of church assistance to refugees and victims of “conflict”. This platform mentions that there are already 3 separate headquarters  located in the regions bordering with Ukraine, namely: the headquarters of church assistance in Rostov-on-Don, Orbitalnaya Street 1b, (Church of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary); headquarters in Belgorod, Pushkin Street 19 (Marfo-Mariinsky Monastery); headquarters in Voronezh, Fabrychny Lane, 8 (Tikhvin-Onufrievsky Church). The actual proximity to the territorial border with Ukraine, as well as the fact that this resource has been operating since 2022, indicates that they are focused on the resettlement of deported Ukrainians. And over the 9 months of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the geography of the dioceses that “help” refugees in Russia has also expanded. If the first reports (dated March 1, 3, 4, 2022) the official website of the Department for Charity and Social Service of the Russian Orthodox Church referred to 30 dioceses, — on April 19, 2022, their number has increased to about 52 dioceses. The official report of November 17, 2022 also announced 58 church institutions in which deported Ukrainians are held.

Analyzing these data, it becomes clear that these temporary accommodation centers, —in fact, places of forced stay of deported Ukrainians on the territory of the Russian Federation — are not the only  places for deportees. 

The deportation process itself is carried out not only with the aim of displacing Ukrainians from the occupied territories as a part of Russian genocidal project, but serves as a means to solve Russia’s demographic problems.  Here the main emphasis  is  on children, who are partly taken to Russian families and are easy targets of propaganda and false information about the course of the Russian-Ukrainian war. As a result, it further complicates the process of their return.

Therefore, the primary tasks are to help these people to get in touch with the Ukrainian authorities and/or their families with the help of international human rights organizations; to obtain as much information as possible about Russia’s accommodation centers and to find out the living conditions in them; to collect all possible information on deported children placed in orphanages and church institutions in the Russian Federation.


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    Sources and Internet sites:

    1. Нам потрібна ваша підтримка, щоб прискорити настання миру – звернення Президента України до учасників сесії Генеральної асамблеї Організації американських держав (ОАД), яка триває в Лімі. URL: https://www.president.gov.ua/news/nam-potribna-vasha-pidtrimka-shob-priskoriti-nastannya-miru-78305.
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    4. В Ростовской -на-Дону епархии раздадут 8 тонн продуктовых наборов беженцам. URL:https://www.diaconia.ru/v-rostovskojnadonu-razdadut-8-tonn-produktovykh-naborov-bezhencam
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