Fact Check: Pope and Zelenskyy Were NOT Featured On April 2023 Cover Of Turkish Magazine LeMan

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Pope and Zelenskyy Were NOT Featured On April 2023 Cover Of Turkish Magazine LeMan Fake Cover

Did LeMan, a Turkish satirical weekly magazine, release a cover in April 2023 on which a caricature of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sets fire to Orthodox priests while the Pope watches and (translated by Lead Stories) says: "It's good"? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found no such cover on the magazine's official pages.

This claim has been published by TikTok accounts in different languages, including Serbian and Spanish, and on Russian online media. On April 19, 2023, this claim appeared in the video posted on the TikTok account lora621308 (archived here). The caption above the drawing reads: "Brave Catholic warriors. Who is next?". The text accompanying the illustration read:

Turkish magazine, Pope with Zelensky.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of this writing:

Screenshot 2023-04-20 at 12.10.39.png

(Source: TikTok.com screengrab taken Thu Apr 20 10:49:23 2023 UTC)

On April 19, 2023, in correspondence with Lead Stories, LeMan said they never released such a caricature or cover:

This cartoon and cover is definitely not ours and fake.

In May 2022, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church declared complete independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. However, as Voice of America reported, Ukrainian authorities suspected some Orthodox Christian clergymen of being loyal to Russia. The Ukrainian counterintelligence and counterterrorism service said that its agents had searched more than 350 church buildings, including Kyiv Pechersk Lavra -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site revered as the cradle of Orthodox monasticism in that region.

According to Meduza, the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church occupying the Pechersk Lavra has refused to leave, despite the state body that oversees the Lavra as a national historic preserve terminating its lease agreement in March. On March 29, the Ukrainian government said it would evict the monks and priests if they didn't leave that day. On the same day, in a daily video briefing, Zelenskyy said that Ukraine had taken another step towards "consolidating spiritual independence" and "protecting our society from old and cynical Moscow religious manipulations."
Since then, Russian propaganda has amplified the narrative about the Ukrainian government fighting the Church and Orthodoxy.

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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