Tobacco Patriarch: It’s Not True, Just Not True

Reported for years on Kommersant and Moscovsky Komsolmolets (who gave Kirill– the nickname “the Tobacco Metropolitan”– why all of a sudden this denial? Why the sudden need to defend it? Is the mask of “cleric” that has been so obvious in Russia starting to finally fall off, revealing another cynical oligarch?

MOSCOW – The Russian Orthodox Church has flatly denied the media publications stating that Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill traded in tobacco and oil in the 1990s and made billons on it.

The synodal information department said in a release issued on Monday that such publications “are false and deliberately defame the Holy Patriarch and the Russian Orthodox Church in general.”

These allegations are based on “rumors and speculation, unchecked statements, and biased opinions,” the document says.