32-year-old man fined for images of Christ on social network


Portal-Credo.Ru, 7 August 2017


A court in the Central district of Sochi fined a local resident, Viktor Nochevnov, who was found guilty under an article concerning offending believers' feelings (part 1 of article 148 of Criminal Code of the RF), 50 thousand rubles. He made reposts of seven caricatures with the image of Jesus Christ, a report from the rights advocacy group "Agora" says, which was quoted on 7 August by television channel Dozhd.


Nochevnov was convicted for reposts that appeared on his page in the period from 20 October 2014 to 31 August 2015. In the caricatures, Jesus Christ was depicted hanging from a chinbar and dancing in a stadium , appearing like a weightlifter against a background of the Olympic rings.


Andrei Dubrovsky, the rector of the Prince Vladimir church of Sochi (RPTsMP) appeared in court as a witness. He said that he considers the caricatures to be "blasphemy that inflames inter-religious strife, a provocation, and an offense to the feelings of believing Orthodox Christians." At the same time, Dubrovsky cited the doctrine concerning icon veneration established in 787. He called the caricatures provocations because of the "debasing use of a sacred image."


The court concluded that Nochevnov was influenced by ideas of intolerance toward Christians because of a "lack of established principles of conduct" and "of correctly formed critical facilities." As a result of that he "began to set himself against generally accepted social norms and values and to display aggression toward the above indicated group of believers and also toward all believers," the judge's decision states.


Nochevnov did not acknowledge guilt. He declared that he did not intend to offend anybody.


In 2013, the Russian State Duma adopted amendments increasing the accountability "for offending believers' feelings." That decision was made after the performance of "Pussy Riot" in the church of Christ the Savior.


The article regarding public offense to believers' feelings provides a punishment of up to 300,000 rubles or the amount of the salary or other income of the convict for a period of up to two years, or compulsory labor for a period of up to 240 hours, or forced labor for a period of up to one year, or incarceration for the same length of time. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 August 2017)

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