Zavtra: Online edition, No. 49, 12/10/96
by Oleg Kuznetsov
Zavtra, 10 December 1996
At the end of November in the State Duma of Russia, on the initiative of the LDPR fraction, there was a discussion of the draft of the federal law "On introducing amendments and supplements in the RSFSR law 'On Freedom of Religious Confessions'."
One of the speakers, Deacon Andrei Kuraev, noted that the law passed on first reading placed no serious impediments to the activity of destructive sects. The law gives equality of rights to the Russian Orthodox church and any occultic organization with a murky and partially criminal past. For the ROC Father Adnrei sees the possibility to struggle with sects only by educational and missionary activity.
Significantly more pointed was the statement of Yuri Polishchuk, a doctor and professor of medical science. In three years of treatment of victimes of the activity of totalitarian cults he has been persuaded of the hard to the spiritual, psychological, and physical health of his patients this activity has caused. There have been court trials of Aum Sinrikyo, the White Brotherhoop, Jehovah's Witnesses, in Petersburg and in Surgut, and on the Society of Krishna Consciousness in Rostov. Despite all these efforts of society, the state has not worked out countermeasures to the destructive energy of sects. The psychiatrist reminded the participants that deputy V. Savitsky (of bright memory) posed the question of introducing into the former law amendments about restricting and forbidding those cults which case undoubted harm to the health of the personality. The professor expressed satisfaction with the presence in article 12 of the law "On liquidation of a religious organization and prohibition of its activity in case of violation of legislation."
But reality is such that the authorities are hindering the action of programs of rehabilitation of victims of sects. Without the testimony of specialists accusations against the sects seem to be unproven. At the Serbsky Center and in the Moscow Institute of Psychiatry the creation of a scientific basis for a program of rehabilitation is frozen because it is not financed. Besides there is open pressure on specialists by foreign organizations, in particular from the American Psychiatric Association, which crudely declared that in Russia there are psychiatrists who are trying to use psychiatry for limiting freedom of religion. The association threatened to complain to the International Committee on the Use of Pyschiatry for Nonmedical Purposes to expel Russia from the World Psychiatric Association. This threat was sufficient for our government to shut down the program of rehabilitation.
At the discussion in the Duma there was talk that certain forces need to challenge the epidemic of occultism in our country and rebuild social consciousness on fundamental harmony. For example, the teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses requires its adherents to refuse military service and voting. This organization numbers in Russia 600,000 persons and its growth rate is about 40-50 percent per year.
Security agencies in a number of countries have established that the church of Scientology has created an enormous information network that collects military and secret intelligence. In our country this church also has penetrated the military-industrial complex. Workers at the Perm motor factory who did not want to study dianetics (scientology) were illegally fired. As a result of intense struggle with Duma sectarians the LDPR fraction managed to bring up for review the question concerning the removal from the draft of the law of point 6 of article 3, "On the freedom of conscience of children." These is some hope that it will become impossible to attract children into totalitarian sects with impunity.
(tr. by PDS)