“Putin’s Confessor” assumes leadership position in Crimea

The Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Tikhon, a close confidant of President Vladimir Putin, is expected to take over the leadership of the Church on the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

The Patriarchate in Moscow announced on Wednesday that the 65-year-old will be appointed as the bishop for Simferopol and Crimea, as reported by the German news platform n-tv.de. Metropolitan Tikhon, civilly known as Shevkunov, bears the nickname “Putin’s confessor” in the Russian press. It is well-known that this conservative churchman advises the president on historical and cultural matters and has also accompanied him on trips.

Bishop Tikhon, born in 1958 as Georgiy Alexandrovich Shevkunov, is a prominent figure. His autobiography achieved bestseller status in Russia in 2011, and he garnered success as a documentary filmmaker in 2008 when he illuminated the reasons for the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

In the West, Tikhon is often referred to as “Putin’s confessor” and the “spiritual leader” of the Kremlin chief, although there is no concrete evidence of this, as explained by the German news website Frankfurter Rundschau. The Russia expert and journalist Christine Hamel stated to SRF in 2017 that the two men know each other well and regularly have confidential conversations. Additionally, Bishop Tikhon often accompanies Putin on his travels.

Image: Kremlin.ru, Vladimir Putin (2023-02-09), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons, (no changes made)

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