The legal entities controlled by Metropolitan Archbishop Tikhon (Shevkunov), who is rumored to be Putin’s confessor, have earned at least 20 billion rubles (~$322.5 million) over the last seven years. Some of the earnings came from selling tickets and renting out venues, but most came from government contracts, Istories reports in its investigation.
Since 2015, the Russia – My History historical parks earned around half of that revenue, and the other half was received by foundations associated with Shevkunov. In particular, the My History Foundation received a total of 3 billion rubles from Gazpromneft in 2021 only, which is only half a billion less than the foundation's annual budget. Furthermore, the Perspektiva National Humanities Knowledge Development Foundation got 485 million rubles, with its main donors being the Ministry of Culture and Gazpromneft, and the Pskov Cultural Legacy Renaissance Foundation received 1.35 billion rubles in government subsidies.
Tikhon Shevkunov’s projects have always focused on pro-Kremlin events and exhibitions and have many a time been criticized for blatant political propaganda, obscurantism, and clericalism. Meanwhile, as historians specify, the role of the USSR in the unleashing of WWII has never been addressed. Since February 2022, his projects have been glorifying the “special operation” and justifying Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Thus, the Russia – My History historical park in Chelyabinsk launched an exhibition in May, titled “Archives Testify: Ukrainian Nationalism During WWII”. The local FSB directorate helped organize the exhibition.
Once Russia had invaded Ukraine, the buildings of his “historical parks” donned the letters “Z” and housed expositions like “NATO: A Chronicle of Brutality.” The latter was advertised on Channel One, showcasing a Ukrainian military uniform based on “NATO standards” and a US flag “confiscated from an Azov Regiment vehicle”.
As The Insider reported in 2014, Tikhon Shevkunov acted as an intermediary in the talks between the heads of Donbas separatists controlled by “Orthodox oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev and the Kremlin. In particular, Shevkunov contacted Malofeev to convey Kremlin-curated public addresses to be delivered by Igor Girkin, the de facto military commander of all separatist forces in the Donbas region at the time.