08/27/2012, 00.00
RUSSIA
Send to a friend

Intolerance: four crosses attacked with chainsaw in two Russian regions

by Nina Achmatova
The Orthodox Church demands that culprits be found. The husband of one of the Pussy Riot members condemns the attacks, while Ukrainian Femen urges perpetrators to continue.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Four wooden crosses were sawn in half and torn down in two different regions of Russia, stoking controversy about the respect for the values ​​and religious symbols, after the scandal caused by the international condemnation of Pussy Riot. The Russian Orthodox Church has demanded justice for the attacks that occurred in the regions of Chelyabinsk and Arkhangelsk in the night between 24 and 25 August last, two weeks after the Ukrainian feminist group Femen used a chain saw on a cross in Kiev. The action was a protest against the sentence to two years imprisonment for the members of the Pussy Riot punk band for staging an anti-Putin performance in the cathedral of Moscow, in a trial which, according to many, was instigated by the Kremlin in agreement with the Russian Patriarchate Orthodox.

In an interview with Echo of Moscow radio, Anna Shevchenko, a member of Femen, supported attacks on religious symbols in Russia and invited people to continue, while also claiming that the  Ukrainian feminist group held any liability.

Vsevolod Chaplin - head of the department of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate for relations with the state and society - has asked the police to find the vandals and bring them before the law. "These actions clearly speak of the moral values ​​of those who are attacking the Church - he told Interfax - with these symbolic actions they are seeking to impose their will on the majority of the population."

No criminal investigation has been opened thus far in either region. The crime of vandalism carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, recalls the Moscow Times newspaper.

The Patriarchate has found an unexpected ally in Piotr Verzilov, husband of Nadia Tolokonnikova, the most famous of the three Pussy Riot members in prison. The activist has condemned the attacks on the crosses and said that the group does not have anything to do with it.

The Orthodox Church in Russia and its leader, Patriarch Kirill, have been the object of intense criticism and media scandals in recent months, but some experts see the vandalism against crosses as an attack on the ordinary faithful. This perhaps because the attacks did not target the symbols of luxury and comfort for which the Church is criticized, but simple wooden crosses, noted journalist and commentator on religious issues, Andrei Zolotov.

The human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, described the attacks as the work of "cowards" and demanded an official explanation of these actions.

 

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Moscow court finds Pussy Riot guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred
17/08/2012
Pussy Riot are separated, but vow protest will continue
11/10/2012
Pussy Riot become icons: "blasphemous" art exhibition under investigation
05/10/2012
Crosses torn down and Pussy Riot slogans on a church in Georgia
17/09/2012
Moscow, tens of thousands with Kirill in defense of the faith
23/04/2012