09/22/2017, 14.35
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Aleksandr Kalinin, the war against 'Matilda' and Putin

by Vladimir Rozanskij

He is the leader of the organization "Christian State - Holy Russia". He has claimed to have died, gone to hell, and been saved by Jesus Christ in person. He launched a war against the movie "Matilda": burn down the cinemas, "take lives for the faith," impale the director. Behind the apocalyptic patriotism of this "Orthodox Fraternity," there may be “divisive”  secret services that want to bring Putin down.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - On 20 September, the leader of the "Christian State – Holy Russia" organization, Aleksandr Kalinin (see photo 1), was arrested along with other people. According to Interfax newsagency, they are suspected of having participated in an arson attack on some cars in front of the lawyer's office of director Aleksej Uchitel ', author of the so-called "Matilda" movie. In the evening Kalinin was released as a simple witness and not the author of the act vandalism.

The others who were arrested, members of his movement, have qualified themselves as "orthodox activists". According to the police, they are also the authors of telephone threats: they are believed to have phoned a Vladivostok cinema, announcing an imminent explosion. Conducting searches on their apartments, gas containers were found, along with leaflets with the inscription "Whoever  is for Matilda must burn!". The leaflets were also present in Kalinin’s home.

In a recent interview with the journal Medusa, Kalinin spoke of "mined targets" throughout Russia as protests against the screening of  "Matilda" (see photo 2). He also spoke of  some letters written by "good young people" , ready to "show anyone who rents the film that there are even more effective fighting methods than fires." He feels justified in the arson attacks on cinemas and even to "take lives for the faith." The leader of these orthodox extremists has also proposed breaking the directo Uchitel's legs, and even impaling him.

The parlimentarian Natalia Poklonskaja (see photo 3, with director Uchitel '), who first started the campaign against the movie "Matilda", said that Kalinin was arrested by "parliamentary request" from the Interior Ministry. She told the RBK agency that she wanted to fight against extremism from all directions, both from Kalinin's threats and Uchitel's falsifications. The film-maker’s lawyer, Konstantin Dobrinin, complained of police delays in intervening, saying they appeared only after the arson attack on his car. But the authorities had been warned of threats since last February.

Who is Aleksandr Kalinin

Aleksandr Kalinin founded the "Christian State - Holy Russia" some years ago, but the group was not officially registered with any court. Its members are equated with one of the many "Orthodox Fraternities" that in Russia coalesce around monasteries or parishes. Kalinin describes himself as an "orthodox preacher" and often uses the pseudonym of "Christian Alexander". He was involved in a serious accident in the past during which he was experienced clinical death. He shot a video describing his experience, which made him very popular. In it he affirms that during his death his soul went to hell, where he suffered the supplications for sinners, but later he had a vision of Jesus Christ himself. This video-story was followed many others, all religious, on the obligation of penance and conversion to divine law.

Kalinin's group has spread in all regions of the Russian Federation, also thanks to the founder's meeting with Miron Kravchenko, self-proclaimed head of a division of Cossacks, active for many years in the social and political sphere, with messages reminiscent of the spiritual and nationalistic rebirth of Russia. Together, they drafted projects and initiatives of what they themselves call a "political-religious congregation". In addition to various joint protests with very varied content and forms, in 2015 the two sought to form an "Anti-Putin Front" to "inform Russian citizens and peoples of the Federation about all the lies in the Kremlin" . Some journalists and opinion leaders argue that behind these "activists" there is the direction of "subversive" sectors of Russian secret services, with the support of several exponents from the clergy. The impression is that the Russian authorities, both political and religious, are losing control of the "fundamentalist" fringe, which is expressing an increasingly apocalyptic and threatening patriotism. 

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