Russian media attacks against non-Orthodox religions


SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 10 December 2018


On 29 November 2018, a news report devoted to the Jehovah's Witnesses was shown on the evening edition of the Vesti program on the Rossia 1 television channel.


The announcer and the authors of the clip called the Jehovah's Witnesses a "sect forbidden in Russia," called into question the prosecution of believers on religious grounds, and accused them of attempts to get fake certificates from the police about persecutions. They interpreted the reluctant quest for political asylum abroad as a desire "to direct the leaderless flock from there on European resources."


On 3 December, one of the clips of the program Extraordinary Journey of the NTV television channel was devoted to the case of Omsk pastor Nikolai Kuznetsov, who is charged under article 239 (creation of a noncommercial organization that infringes the personality and rights of citizens) and article 111 of the CC of RF (intentional infliction of grievous harm to health).


The news report also contains numerous antisectarian clichés: "bombardment with love," "gain complete control over the will and finances," and "psychological trap." Kuznetsov himself is called a "false pastor." As confirmation of his dishonesty and attempt to inflict harm to the health of parishioners, the authors of the clip recall that during a search of the premises of the religious organization, "books on psychology and psychiatry" were seized.


The "sectologist" Alexander Dvorkin was involved in the capacity of an expert. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2018)




The incident involving a Baptist, who was fined for an unsanctioned action in Naberezhnye Chelny—baptism in the Kama River--is gathering steam. One of the leading Telegram channels of the republic, Neudashcha, reported that the pastor of the Regeneration Church of Evangelical Christians-Baptists conducts his rituals with the use of alcohol and psychotropic substances, and called him a sectarian.


"Alarming news has come to us from the eastern part of our republic. In Naberezhnye Chelny, religious crazies have recently intensified their activity. In some cases happening recently, the prosecutor's office and children's ombudsmen Guzel Udachina have been forced to intervene.


"In July and September of this year, one of the pastors of the Regeneration Church of Evangelical-Christians Baptists (EKhB), Leonid Provorov, after another autumn psychiatric flare-up, decided to try on himself the role of John the Baptist and conduct several rituals of mass baptism right in the Kama River. It should be noted that in the Regeneration sect, this ritual is not much like the baptism that we all are accustomed to seeing.


"The newly appearing Baptizer Provorov conducts his rituals in strange places, telling trusting parishioners that this is a 'place of strength.' Provorov arranges baptisms as 'magical rituals' using alcohol and psychotropic substances and putting people in a trance, and so forth. Former friends of the newly appearing pastor say that in his childhood and youth Provorov dreamed of becoming a hero of a fantasy novel or film. Apparently in heading up a sect, Provorov has achieved his childhood dreams and complexes, and now he drives parishioners into the woods, rivers, and basements by dreaming up religious rituals.


"What else besides drinking alcohol and 'ablutions' Provorov thinks up with his flock in 'places of strength' we can only guess. But the fact that the rituals are conducted far from people says much. But it is obvious that in the fanatical rush for hype the comrade forgot that the conduct of mass public events requires agreement with the executive committee. . . . Otherwise one must answer to the law."


After information about the fine was spread by news media, the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists issued an open declaration against the authorities of Naberezhnye Chelny. The organization accused the executive committee of the city of conducting an "operation of intimidation."


And today, another Telegram channel of the republic, "Babai calling," writes about the Dom Evangeliia [House of the Gospel] religious organization, which erupted in a brouhaha over a mother of many children, Veranika Nurulliona, who has been deprived of four children.


"Many citizens of Chelny call members of this sect 'Kama Jehovists.' They go door-to-door with questions of 'Do you believe in God?' In 2017 there was an incident when sectarians built a temporary building in complex 38 for conducting their rituals. The building not only did not comply with safety regulations but also served as a place for commercial activity: sale of religious wares and services. Now there is a new uproar over the Christians of Evangelical Faith (KhVE) Dom Evangeliia.


"Devotees of the church cannot divide up four children of their parishioners. Veronika Nurullina, a member of the sect, left her husband, Eldar Nurullin, and is now living with a new man, an employee of Kamaz. Naturally the husband and many members of the sect accuse their colleague of sinful behavior and they do not allow her to see her children. The scandal, in the style of 'Let them talk,' is being covered intensely by local news media in which the sectarians are tossing shit on one another."


All these religious sects are created with one goal: enriching the creators. For example, the owner of the Regeneration sect is Vasily Evchik. We know that members of the Dom Evangeliia pay from 10 to 30 percent of their income into the sect's "kitty." In Naberezhnye Chelny alone the number of members of a sect is from 1500 to 3000 persons. And this is only those who pay the "church tithe." Evchik is not only a pastor; he also keeps the whole financial stream under his own control. As the founder of several religious organizations in Chelny, he also is a member of a noncommercial partnership of social initiatives, Social Alliance, registered in Moscow. Evchik also is listed as a director of the Christian Mission Prayer for the Fatherland, registered in Moscow. Thus a whole network of religious organizations has been constructed in which substantial financial flows revolve. "Donations" come from the regions into the account of the Moscow firms and in the end they evaporate. It is for this reason that the departure of every member of a sect is felt to be extremely painful.


We hope that law enforcement agencies of Chelny will take control of the activity of these organizations, and trusting people will cease being fooled by various wolves in sheep's clothing.


Judging by the activity of the Telegram channels, the story about the fine does not end here and apparently one should expect a continuation in the near future. (tr. by PDS, posted 10 December 2018)

Related articles;
Pentecostal pastor indicted for "psychological harm"
November 19, 2018
Long-standing Baptist custom of out-of-doors baptism attacked
November 23, 2018
Rights advocates side with Russian Baptists
December 2, 2018
Court calls off tormentors of Pentecostal church in Naberezhnye Chelny
January 16, 2018

Government officials harass Pentecostals in Tatar region, among others

December 5, 2017

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