There is no confirmation from the authorities whether any Russian Orthodox priest has been banned from entering the country, apart from three Russian diplomats from the embassy in Skopje.
They were declared persona non grata last week. Numerous media write that Vasian Zmeev, a Russian priest, head of the Russian Church in Bulgaria, but also in charge of the territory of Macedonia, is also an undesirable person for Macedonia.
According to the writings, he visited the country frequently last year and met with representatives of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.
The news from Skopje triggered reactions in Bulgaria as well, while in Sofia there are discussions about who should appoint the head of the Intelligence and Defense Service. At the moment he is President Rumen Radev, but the government of Kirill Petkov and Boyko Borisov wants to deprive him of these powers.
According to the deputy of Kirill Petkov’s party, Atanas Atanasov, Bulgarian counterintelligence is also cooperating with Russia, which cited the Russian priest as an example.
“He goes there to perform the tasks of Russian counterintelligence and create divisions in the Macedonian Church. Little Macedonia with its services, I don’t know how effective they are, found out that the Russian priest who lives and serves in the Russian church here in the center of Sofia, deals with intelligence in Macedonia and was expelled from there, he has been living in Bulgaria for five years. I ask the Bulgarian counterintelligence, are they not ashamed?” said Atanas Atanasov – a member of parliament (MP) of “We continue the change”.
Vasian Zmeev was appointed head of the Russian Church in Sofia five years ago, and he has also been to Macedonia several times. Russian priest Antony, who is responsible for diplomatic relations of the Russian Church, arrived in the country in January this year.
Then President Stevo Pendarovski said that there was no problem with the visit of the Russian Metropolitan as long as it was within the framework of church affairs. He added, however, that Russian President Vladimir Putin was undeniably using church diplomacy as one of his global tools to justify the war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, as the Foreign Ministry announced a day ago, three people from the Russian Embassy were declared undesirables on the grounds that they violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Conduct. Official Moscow announced countermeasures./ Alsat.mk