The Russian parliament wages war on magicians, shamans, healers
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Over 10 thousand Russian sites offer miracle cures for a fee. Black magic, curses, removal of evil eye and other services related to spells and magical protections. One in five Russian citizens turn to fortune tellers or tarot card readers at least once in their lifetime. A draft law proposes sentences of one to three years for fraudsters. The condemnation of the Orthodox Church. Superstition and post-communism.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Deputies of the State Duma, the Russian parliament, want to deal with issues concerning spirituality, religion and the moral behavior of the population in an increasingly systematic way. In the last year, after a series of measures against the activities of various communities deemed "extremist" and dangerous, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientology and the Baptists who refuse registration, now a draft law has been presented against magicians, shamans and healers always a characteristic of Russian folklore.

From its origins, and more than the ancient Mediterranean and European peoples, Russian Christianity has coexisted with very different forms of paganism and superstition, which was never completely eradicated,not even by the rigid Soviet atheism. It is the historical phenomenon of the "double faith", the Russian dvoeverie, for which even in churches, monasteries and party headquarters, occult and apotropaic practices of every kind coexisted.

Sergej Vostretsov, the author of the bill, illustrated a series of data according to which over 10 thousand Russian websites offer miraculous services for a fee. Some even enter into contracts with customers, without any title, which makes it impossible to return the sums paid for witchcraft, curses, removal of the evil eye and other services related to spells and black magic, in the absence of results. Vostretsov told the "Rossiijskaja Gazeta" that he was worried about suffering citizens, who did not know who to turn to because of desperation they felt they had to access this kind of practices: "Even our television shows programs of extra-sensory specialists, who turn to supernatural forces to solve problems for which there seems to be no answer. Many hope for healing, or reconciliation of family relationships. It is a shameful way of taking advantage of people's weakness, accumulating disproportionate profit without any meaning", explained the deputy.

According to the data, at least once in their lifetime one in five Russian citizens has turned to some soothsayer or fortune teller. By way of example, Vostretsov cited the case of an elderly woman who gave witches over 1,700,000 rubles (almost 35,000 euros) that her children had set aside to buy an apartment for the family, and now they are in housing difficulties. The proposed law provides for severe penalties, from one to three years for individual scammers and from 5 to 10 years for organized groups.