Moscow (AsiaNews) - Crosses torn down in Russia and graffiti on the walls of churches in Georgia. Anti-clerical
acts continue to be carried out demanding the release of Pussy Riot, the
feminist punk band whose three members were sentenced to two years in prison
for having staged an anti-Putin performance in the Moscow cathedral. After
four wood crosses cut and torn down in late August on the regions of Chelyabinsk and Arkhangelsk,
two other crosses have been torn down in the district of Pervomaisk, Altai
region, September 5. As
reported by the religious information website, Portalcredo.ru, on September 10 an
investigation was opened into acts of "hooliganism" (article 214 of
the Criminal Code). According
to investigators, those held responsible have already been identified.
Episodes of this kind have increased in Russia after August 17, the day of the conviction of Pussy Riot - guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" . Ukrainian feminist group Femen protested against the verdict cutting a cross in Kiev with a chainsaw.
The phenomenon is not confined to Russia. In Tbilisi, Georgia, a group of citizens called on the authorities to shed light on writing that appeared on the outer walls of the Kashveti Orthodox Church in the center of the Georgian capital. According to reports from the site Pravmir.ru, close to the caricature of an icon "Free Pussy Riot" was written in large letters, the slogan of the international campaign in support of the Russian band.
Within the Russian Orthodox Church, the debate on the issue is tense: some argue that the acts represent a real campaign against faith, that first began after the arrival in Russia from Mount Athos of the relic of the belt of the Virgin last winter. The relic attracted more than two million pilgrims from across the country, frightening some circles who realized the strong appeal that Christianity still exerts on the Russian people, despite decades of persecution. Others, however, note that this is the time to address a critical issue and so far avoided by the Orthodox Church in Russia: that of its relationship with a secular society.