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MP: Metropolitan Eugene's expulsion was expected

Igor Taro.
Igor Taro. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

It was expected the Police and Board Guard Board (PPA) would refuse to extend Russian Orthodox church leader Metropolitan Eugene's temporary residence permit, said Riigikogu member and journalist Igor Taro (Eesti 200) on Tuesday.

Metropolitan Eugene, head of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (MPEÕK), left Estonia on Tuesday.

"To some extent, this was to be expected. It is not just about one person, it is about the whole structure more broadly. The Moscow Patriarchate is a structure closely linked to the Russian government and authorities," Taro told "Ringvaade".

"This issue is not about church or religion at all. It has to do with a very dubious structure – the Moscow Patriarchate, which has been busy justifying Russian aggression in Ukraine, blessing rockets and weapons. It has said that those who go to Ukraine to kill children will go to paradise and be forgiven for all their sins," he said.

Taro said it is questionable why people in Estonia belong to the institution.

"If we look at the example of Ukraine, Ukraine has taken this issue very seriously. It is a very important security issue," the MP said.

Metropolitan Eugene, leader of the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The PPA refused to extend Metropolitan Eugene's, whose real name is Valeri Reshetnikov, residence permit last month and ordered him to leave Estonia by February 6.

It reconfirmed the decision on Monday and MPEÕK said he would do so on Tuesday.

The PPA said they had taken into account his activities as a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in Estonia, his public statements and his impacts on the country's internal security.

The Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) said both the patriarch of Moscow and Metropolitan Eugene's actions have aided the implementation of the Russian Federation's security policy in Estonia.

Last week, Metropolitan Eugene said the decision was "political" and that he would continue working remotely if he returned to Russia.

"No one has removed me from my position. I was elected by the church council, which has representatives from all parishes. So it is this institution that must decide whether I can continue to serve here. I am leaving, yet at the same time I am staying," he told AK.

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Editor: Valner Väino, Helen Wright

Source: "Ringvaade", interviewed by Marko Reikop

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