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The recognition of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Local Church of Cyprus provoked a raging fit in Russia, whose leaders immediately instructed their propaganda pundits to come up with critical works on the subject and go as far as pursue subversive activity in the media space. Russia is now making considerable efforts to create in Cyprus a favorable information agenda in Cyprus, permeated by Kremlin propaganda.
Eventually, the efforts of Kremlin propagandists and agents of influence became a nuisance for Cypriots, who quickly realized the full meaning of “fraternal relations Russian-style.”
Alexander Voznesensky, who has long referred to himself as a Ukrainian national, became one of the first “media figures” to come into the spotlight for Cypriots. So we decided to look into this character and scrambled to collect freely available open source data on the man.
According to Cyprus Daily News, Alexander Voznesensky’s real name is Alexander Boryslavsky, member of the Limassol-based Russian-speaking St. Nicholas Parish and supporter of the “Russian World” concept. Boryslavsky allegedly studied for some time at a church school in Kyiv, but quit before graduating.
Andrei Kuraev, an Archdeacon with the Russian Orthodox Church who’s been banned from holding sermons, writes that Boryslavsky is married to Svetlana Borislavskaya, who once received a lucrative employment offer in Cyprus. Since then, the family has lived on the island.
Kuraev claims that Boryslavsky is officially unemployed and raising his children as “homemaker,” so apparently he has plenty of free time to produce propaganda. Along with the alias “Voznesensky”, he sometimes uses another one, Pasichnik, across social media and blogs.
Cyprus Daily News also claims that Alexander Boryslavsky is a photographer. In particular, he did a photo-op for Russian businessman Vyacheslav Zarenkov and Cypriot Metropolitan Isaiah, as well as did photo shoots in the church that Zarenkov had erected for Metropolitan Isaiah.
Vyacheslav Zarenkov is a Russian professor, developer, entrepreneur, writer, and philanthropist. He is in the list of Russia’s TOP 200 wealthiest people. He sponsors construction of churches, including in Cyprus, including of a temple named after Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called and All Saints, sanctified in the Russian land. Since 2017, on his initiative, the Greek-Russian Orthodox CypRus festival has been held in Cyprus.
Metropolitan Isaiah (born Georgakis, later changed his last name to Kikkotis) studied at the Moscow Theological Academy. Hieromonk Hilarion (Alfeev), who is now Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church and head of the External Church Relations Department, taught him Church Slavonic at the time. Metropolitan Isaiah Kikkotis was one of four bishops who criticized the leader of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, for recognizing the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Boryslavsky mainly pens op-eds using the alias “Voznesensky”. His pieces are imbued with hatred for Cyprus, Cypriots, and Greeks, at the same time glorifying the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia in general. Most of his texts he publishes in his own channel “Religion and Politics” on the Telegram platform.
Also, according to Cyprus Daily News, Boryslavsky is closely affiliated with Russian Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev (owner of Tsargrad TV, the one who directly participated in Russia’s annexation attempt in Crimea) and Secretary of the ROC’s External Church Relations Department, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk. Boryslavsky is known to be boasting of the latter contact in a close circle, claiming he performs “delicate” assignments in Cyprus at Yakimchuk’s behest.
Incidentally, Yakimchuk communicates directly with the Church of Cyprus’s bishops, also regularly visiting the mentioned church, built in Cyprus by businessman Zarenkov.
Russian-speaking Limassol-based St. Nicholas Parish, which is Boryslavsky’s “home base,” also attracts attention due to some peculiar facts.
In particular, the parish says on its website that back in 2009, the then-head of the Russian State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, became co-chairman of the parish’s board of trustees of the Church Construction Fund. Here’s a twist: the man is now chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).
Besides the link, we offer a screenshot. After all, the most interesting information tends to disappear from the parish’s site.
At the moment, for example, it’s impossible to find mentions of Boryslavsky’s authorship in the site’s photo library and on the parish’s social media. Following the report by Cyprus Daily News highlighting this weird figure, the parish did a massive purge to get rid of any information trail linking them to Boryslavsky. However, as they say, “screenshots don’t burn.”
But what makes Boryslavsky use aliases, hide his true identity, and the parish – thoroughly delete all information about their connection with this person from their archives?
The mentioned names of the Russian businessman, officials of the ROC’s External Church Relations Department, Metropolitan of the Church of Cyprus and, of course, Sergei Naryshkin, suggest a powerful Russian intelligence plot being implemented, as well as a Russian propaganda mechanism being applied in Cyprus.
In this scheme, the Russian-speaking Limassol parish of St.Nicholas in Cyprus quite logically fits in as a safehouse or liaison point, while Boryslavsky acts as one of the main assets to promote Russian propaganda and pursue subversive efforts on the ground.
From this perspective, there are sufficient grounds for concealing one’s traces. There is just a single photo on the web where Cyprus Daily News journalists were able to identify Alexander Boryslavsky.
Not only do the efforts of the mentioned network of Russian intelligence assets harm the Church of Cyprus, they’re also to the detriment of the country’s interests in general. Boryslavsky is an exemplary fanatic, a true adept of the Russian Orthodox Church. While living in the EU, enjoying the relevant benefits and friendly attitude of local people, he at the same time hates it all, often resorting to offensive rhetoric in his public posts, often timidly inciting religious hatred in his readers.
Most Russian “patriots” prefer to reside beyond Russian borders, in some country they “sincerely hate.” And so does Boryslavsky.
Here are some brief examples of contempt Boryslavsky has publicly express:
“… If the Synod recognizes the OCU, the last remaining Russian companies that somehow supported the economy of Cyprus, which is now in convulsing, will withdraw from Cyprus…”;
“… Thanks to Russian money, people on the island now drive modern cars rather than ride their donkeys…”;
On Archbishop Chrysostomos II: “… You could’ve remained archbishop, but now, I think, you’ll be given the position of archdevil for betraying Christ…”, “… his name will go down in history, probably as Coprostomos (shit-mouthed), not Chrysostomos (golden-mouthed)…”,”… I, as many others, thought that Chrysostomos would stop, facing a possible threat of schism in his own church. But he turned out to be a more disgusting type than people thought of him…”; and
On the Ecumenical Patriarch: “go mind your own business, Comrade Bartholomew. It’s we who tolerate you as some kind of misunderstanding…”; “The ROC has long turned a blind eye to these unholy deeds, and in the end we see this heretic Bartholomew having invaded the ROC territory to subordinate Ukraine…”
Concluding what’s been said, while previously Boryslavsky used to promote “Russian World” ideas in Cyprus, now he is also ensuring media support for the “opposition” to the local church leader, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus. Boryslavsky broadcasts threats of schism and throws in subtle hints about the potential “unfriendly” retaliatory steps by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Alexander Boryslavsky’s remarkable commitment to the “Russian World” ideology and his unhealthy interest in the Ukraine affairs suggest that under different aliases and at different periods of time, he was able to and probably did carry out subversive missions in media domain targeting Ukraine.
In this regard, our editorial board will be grateful for any information, any tips on the subversive efforts by Mr Alexander Boryslavsky (aka Voznesensky, aka Pasichnyk). Anonymity guaranteed.