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Thursday, April 29, 2004
Chuvash Republic - dedicates exhibit to children in war
, April 28, 2004
In the scope of celebrations on the Day of Victory for the Soviet people in the Great Domestic War of 1941-1945 on April 29, social associations of the Chuvash Republic are hosting a documentary exhibit, "I don't want war," dedicated to the children of the war years.
Rare documents will be on display that tell about the work done by the government of the Chuvash Autonomous Socialist Republic about the location and allocation of evacuated children in homes, parks and nurseries, about the organization of temporary quarters, the collection of goods and finances to help the children of those at the front, making arrangements for orphans and neglected children and trade schools in the republic. Of indisputable interest will be the documents that tell about the dedicated work of the Young Pioneers and school children at mills, factories and collective farms, about the Timurovsky movement, anxiety about those evacuated, those wounded in combat and on assignment.
Documents will also be on display that tell about the patronage of children's establishments by the republic in the children's homes in Smolensk province, about the collections - "Chuvash Pioneers," "Chuvash Collective Farmers," and "For happy children" - and deposits of Chuvash children into the Foundation to aid the Children of liberated Donbass, along with rare photographs of that period, statistical information and reports. Children of the war era, who were a little over eleven years old in 1941, have been invited to the presentation. They will share their remembrances about life in the austere war period.
After the exhibit opens, there will be a round-table discussion for the careful consideration of the issue of the preservation of the documents for war veterans and home front workers.
Arkhangelsky Province - Seminar on domestic violence
, April 28, 2004
On April 28 a work seminar begins in Arkhangelsk for judges in the Arkhangelsky Oblast (Province) on the topic of "How to get a reaction on domestic violence from society."
As reported to an IA Regnum correspondent by the press secretary of the administrative Court Department in Arkhangelsky Oblast, Viktoria Vakhrusheva, the seminar is a continuation of an international program of collaboration between the Arkhangelsky courts and the state of Maine, USA. Taking part in them are the director of the violence intervention partnership Faye Luppi, State of Maine Supreme Court judge Hon. Jon D. Levy, assistant district attorney Anne Berlind, professor of the legal faculty of Maine University Valerie Stanfill, representative of legal services and alternative choice Sean L. Grega, women's crisis center acting director Lynne Galgan Rakit, and South Portland police officer Allen Andrews.
Director of the violence intervention partnership Faye Luppi visited Arkhangelsk before in May of 2003 in the realm of this program. This time the visit entails a rather larger number of guests from the USA. Taking part in the seminar are justices of the peace from Arkhangelsky Oblast, lawyers, staff for lawyers, crisis centers, police, legal services, and legal faculty of Arkhangelsky universities. In the course of work, issues to be examined include tangential domestic violence and how it can be prevented. A "victim of violence" exercise and a round-table discussion are to be conducted. The goal of the seminar is to develop social reaction to domestic violence. The seminar goes to April 30.
Moscow - Mayor's position on temple construction is duplicitous
St. Irineaus religious research center
, April 23, 2004
On April 22, "Narochnitskaya.Ru" distributed the following report:
"As was reported yesterday at a press conference in the first deputy mayor's office of Moscow, plans manager Vladimir Resin "of the capital authority did not plan for construction of a Krishna temple on Khodynsky field."
The government official said that there would no "no temple on Khodynsky field at all." However, he later refuted his statement in fact and repeated what had been earlier said by the Moscow authorities, specifically, "Construction of a building with an area of 3-4 thousand square meters is going on for the Krishnas in the vicinity of Leningradsky Prospect." During this, Mr. Resin did get not more specific about the construction that was energetically being pursued in the vicinity of Leningradsky Prospect now being Khodynsky field. This was the same wording, property 39 on Leningradsky Prospect, used for the Krishna in allocated the land for them on Khodynsky field. Incidentally, the TsSKA athletic complex, which is on the territory of Khodynsky field, has an address of 25a Leningradsky Prospect.
The disguised form of the official explanation suggests that the concept of Resin's announcement had been agreed upon in advance with the "Society for Krishna Consciousness." His goal would be to appease the Moscow public and distract them from this problem. This also validates the lack of reaction from the usually noisy and aggressive Krishnas. After Resin made his statement, they were quiet. Apparently the sectarians are in league with the government officials in the use of such a tactic - distract, soothe the indignation of Moscow's residents, and use the lull to put up a building alien to Russia.
On that point, it's impossible not to put attention on that area which, in V. Resin's words, was allocated for the Krishna building in the vicinity of Leningradsky Prospect, an extremely large 3-4 thousand square meters. This is, at a minimum, is two times greater than the Pokrovsky Church on Red Square, known as the Cathedral of Vasiliy Blazheny. And the Church of the Transfiguration in the Christ the Savior cathedral complex has an area of 2,500 square meters.
Another circumstance we would want to note: all the representatives of all the traditional religions in Russia - Judaism, Orthodoxy and Buddhism - are unanimous in their opinion that the Society for Krishna Consciousness presents a threat to the interreligious peace in Russia. For a long time the issue about the legitimacy of the existence of this aggressive organization with the dubious reputation on Russian soil has been coming to a head.
It's deemed that the attorney general needs to direct close attention on the circumstances by which the "Society for Krishna Consciousness" received authorization for the construction of a huge temple practically in the middle of Moscow, when for 10 years the Buddhists, for example, have not been able to erect a building for the celebration of their divine services, nor even get the land for doing so.
The allocation of a huge tract of the precious soil at Khodynsky field 15 minutes from the Kremlin, free of charge and in record time, and also the obviously partial position of the Moscow authorities on this matter, and the disregard for the public opinion of the city of Moscow, suggests the existence of material interest for a number of officials of the Moscow government in this construction."
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Nizhny Novogorod -
, April 28, 2004, Marina Laid
The paintings of a young Nizhegorodsky artist, Tatyana Muraleva, will be on display at the "Contemplation" exhibit May 6th in the "Orlenok" movie theater. The author of the work announced this to a correspondent of the Nizhegorodsky Telegraph Agency.
There are to be 20 pictures on exhibit, mostly landscapes, which, as the author herself has determined, can be classified as works of the romatic school. As she stated, the creation of her paintings on canvas will help transport exhibit visitors from the bustle of city life to remote mountain ranges, and to landscapes where one can sense the rustling of leaves and the aroma of the flowers.
Admission is free and the exhibit gos to May 30.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy - Zoo gets two bear cubs
, April 28, 2004
Conservationists have brought two bear cubs, who had lost their mother, to the Elizovsky zoo in Kamchatka.
As was reported to RIA "Novosti" in Oblokhotupravlenie, the two-month old males were discovered by conservationists not far from a bear killed by a poacher in the Ust-Bolsheretsky district.
The bear cubs were delivered to the Elizovskiy zoo and have already settled into the new place.
According to zoo director Anatoliy Shevlyagin, the animals were weak. They urgently needed food and veterinary care, but the specialists at the zoo are doing everything possible to make the youngsters healthy and strong.
About ten bears are lost every year to poachers, many of them on the peninsula. Hides from the Kamchatka bear bring in 500-1,000 dollars, and one gram of the gall bladder brings 6-10 dollars in the USA for its unique medicinal properties.
Part of the reason for the destruction of the bears is also wire traps that fishermen set on the shores of spawning streams to protect themselves from predators looking for salmon.
Perm - May 1st holiday celebrated with march
, April 28, 2004
Twenty thousand people are expected to take part in the May 1st festival in Perm. That is the number of demonstrators the leading organizers expect in the march on the city's streets - the regional union council. However, in the estimate of specialists, the actual number of participants could be much less. Most likely many residents of Perm will take advantage of the favorable weather and prefer to set off for rural areas.
Meanwhile, the column will march on Spring day and the operation begins at 11 a.m. on October Square and will extend up Lenin, Kuibyshev and Communist streets. Along the demonstration route, the regional council union will be joined by regional residents and party organizations of Perm. The mayor's office was informed that the "One Russia," "Yabloko," LDPR and KPRF parties will be participating. Besides the traditional slogan "Long live 1 May!" experts expect to see banners on current issues, like "For appropriate pay and pension" and "social state - social guarantee."
IA "Noviy Region" (Perm)
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Chuvashia - President favors regulating beer sales
, April 23, 2004
The Chuvash economic development and commerce ministry, as commissioned by the republic's president, prepared a draft for a federal law "On state regulation of the retail sale of beer." Today beer, a product that contains alcohol, in practice has attained the status of an everyday drink and is freely sold, no age restrictions, to consumers. For this reason the open consumption of beer has in recent years become widely practiced in our country (on the streets, public transport and other public places). All this is telling negatively on the moral-ethical climate of society, creates an atmosphere boundless permissibility, and has a bad influence on the older generation, as the ministry explained.
Along with that, some kinds of beer have a higher percentage of alcohol, and according to the proof indicated it's similar to wine, which is regarded as an alcoholic product. In expert opinion, early acquaintance with beer and its excessive consumption leads to faster formation of alcohol dependency.
The draft of the federal law was worked out with the goal of protecting the health of the people of the Russian Federation, preventing the development of alcoholism among minors, providing for public safety and adhering to moral standards of conduct. In the legislative draft, measures are proposed for state regulation of the retail sale of and advertisement for beer; beer sales would be prohibited in childrens, cult, educational and medical-preventive establishments and on adjacent properties, and beer advertising would also be restricted. Besides that, the proposal foresees a ban on selling beer to those under 18 years old.
At the present time the proposed law has been agreed upon by nearly all ministries and departments, and is being scheduled to be heard by the Russian Federation Duma.
Russia - police can fight "sectarians" on a scientific basis
, April 23, 2004
On April 22, 2004, A.V. Tonkonogov defended a dissertation in the Russian MVD (internal affairs ministry) management academy called "Sectarianism as a social phenomenon (research into the environment of those convicted to deprivation of liberty)", reported a "Portal-Credo.Ru" correspondent. In the opinion of the author of the study, the urgency of the theme is associated with a vacuum in ideology that representatives of various sects, that are causing the problems, try to fill. To the utmost degree, the presenter of the thesis had no doubt that "the social tenseness in the modern world was caused in part by the activities of the organizations and groups that represent sects." The author of the dissertation managed to convince the dissertation board of the scientific reliability of designating "religious, pseudo-religious and secular sects," and concepts such as "sect," "sectarianism," "deformation of consciousness" and "ritual crime." Besides that, the staff of the internal affairs organs now have a basis with which to regard "sect" adepts as potential criminals and injured parties who, after a long stay in the sect, require treatment (rehabilitation). Regarding the seriousness of the system, the MVD says that "theoretical and practical significance of the complex study of sectarianism is a secular, scientific discipline, 'sectology,' and there is also a proposal to create in the structure of the criminal police a new department to combat socially dangerous forms of sectarianism and cultic ritual crime." The defense was well-received, but it was given in a closed setting, because strangers are not admitted to academy property. According to those in charge, the presenter personally put together a list of attendees for the defense of his dissertation. Besides that, the complete text of the dissertation was not available for inspection by anyone interested not only for a month, as was required by the rules of the RF higher attestation committee, but even for a day before the defense.
Moscow - Sergiy Radonezhsky church enhances Ryazan Prospect
, April 23, 2004
A variance in the architecture of southeast Moscow for a building under construction in the vicinity of Ryazan Prospect for the Orthodox church has been granted by city authorities. It is planned that the church complex of Saint Sergiy Radonezhsky on Ryazan will be completed within the next year.
As the Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper wrote, the construction of the new parish, for which land on Oksky Street was allocated, is to begin this summer. The selection of the construction site for this cult establishment was not made at random - it is not in the vicinity of a single Orthodox church.
The project for the church of St. Sergei Radonezhsky on Ryazan will be executed in classic Byzantine tradition. It will be a not particularly large (3,500 sq. m.) single-cupolated church with a bell tower. Besides the parish itself, there is to be parking and a security shack on the convenient and green church property. By the way, according to a statement by the town governor, the presence of the church on Ryazan will not only "enhance the silhouette" of the architecture of the megalopolis district, but it will also "humanize" the environment.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Russia - Mufti Ashirov believes television corrupts society
, April 21, 2004
Council of the Muftis of Russia co-chairman Nafigulla Ashirov seconded the opinion of Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias Aleksiy II about the potential danger posed for children by the mass media, the Internet and computer games.
Today in a broadcast over the "Echo Moscow" radio station, N. Ashirov brought to mind that this matter was not being raised for the first time, and that "Muslim spiritual religious figures were not censuring the mass media in general or television in particular."
"Today television is corrupting our society, young people in particular," he believes. "It spreads a cult of laxness about sex and alcohol, or anything that can lead to disgrace." N. Ashirov noted that "today practically 90 percent of the advertisements bore an openly erotic character, in which connection the advertisement interrupted everything, including children's shows." According to N. Ashirova, "this cult of immodesty is, in practice, spreading at the official level today," because the state broadcasting stations also take part in this.
At the same time, in his opinion, the state conversely ought somehow to organize an appropriate method to reject that which is not inherent to the general culture, to the people of Russia and to the Russian people. "The race for profit should not take precendence over realizing the danger that our society is being corrupted and could have characteristics frightening for generations to come," underscored N. Ashirov.
In his opinion, the computer games "with which most of our children are infected" also pose a potential danger because they "bring within them a negative charge that could provoke violent deeds in children's future."
N. Ashirov voiced hope that Muslim religious figures would support the Patriarch's idea and also step forward on this occasion with public statements, "even though such statements will not, I believe, change anything," he noted.
Moscow - Patriarch urges educators to focus more on patriotic upbringing
, April 22, 2004
The Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias Aleksiy the Second called upon Russian educators to combine education with the patriotic upbringing of youth.
"We need to combine education with upbringing and raise worthy citizens for our country, who need their land, who know its history and who would be patriots," said the Patriarch, who appeared on Wednesday at the annual gathering for the Russian Academy of Education, of which he is a member.
As he said, education and upbringing are "two wings that make humans human with a capital H."
When we hear there are one million homeless people in our country at the beginning of the 21st century, this forces us to think things over and take action," said the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
"After all, upbringing needs to occur not only in educational institutions, but also in families. When it goes on in the cellars, in the attics and in the driveways, this results in the development of alcoholism and drug use among young people," noted Aleksiy II.
Even well adjusted families, he said, were not necessarily well equipped in matters of upbringing, for instance "the mass media and computer games propagate a cult of violence and persuades us that human life is without value."
The Patriarch also specifically addressed the question of the reliability of many teachers of history. As he said, this question was being looked at today at the RF presidential level.
In the Patriarch's opinion, all the problems mentioned need to be resolved by society working together.
Israel - vendor of stolen Torah arrested
, April 22, 2004
In their work the Israeli police frequently resort to disguise. For instance, there is the case of drug dealers being arrested by "buyers," meaning police who pass themselves off as drug addicts. But what if they're not dealing drugs, but purloined scrolls of the Torah?
This was the situation district detective Dan found himself in. The "gabbai" made contact with someone who was selling scrolls of the Torah that had been stolen. He set up a business meeting and bargained a long time, and at the same time found out the essential details about the wares in question.
When the work was done, the "gabbai," under pretext of needing to confirm the transaction, telephoned the "rabbi," and then the two cult "ministers" arrested the shocked seller.
Arrested was a 50-year resident of Bat-Yama, and on Thursday morning the matter of whether he remains in custody is to be decided by the court.
This report is from information provided by Tel Aviv district police.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Moscow - Long-established Buddhist community faces eviction
, April 22, 2004
On April 19, one of the oldest Buddhist dzogchen communities in Russia, the "Rinchen-Ling" (MDO), received a copy of impending legal action and notification that the land agency of the northern administrative district of Moscow had gone to arbitration court with a demand for compulsory eviction of the Buddhists from the premises they now occupy, reported a correspondent from Portal-Credo.Ru.
In 1997, the MDO received a small lodging close to the Kurskaya metro station with leasing privileges for 15 years from the Moscow authorities. The premises, which were in a half-wrecked condition, were renovated and restored by community staff. In September 2003, city authorities told the MDO that the Moscow government had adopted a resolution by which the building in which the MDO premises were located was slated for demolition. As is well-known, dozens of buildings located in that prestigious area of the capital are objects of relocation. The Moscow Rinchen-ling dzogchen-community was given three months, or actually to the end of 2003, to leave the quarters it occupied. At that time the authorities did not suggest an alternate location for the faithful, and actually threatened the congregation and the "Shang-Shung, Moscow" publishing agency, which published many books on the teachings and practice of dzogchen in the Russian language, with liquidation.
The large community is associated with pupils of Namkai Norbu Rinpoche. In the lodgings at Kurski the believers engage in group prayer and practices, have lessons in Yantra Yoga and dance of the "vajra" for those who are interested. The "Rinchen-ling" Buddhists just do not have the resources to acquire such a large quarters for themselves. Although in the agreement for the current premises, the Moscow property committee is obligated to "regulate" potential problems with the lodgings, the believers still face the possibility of being thrown out onto the street.
Novgorodsky Oblast - Valdaisky National Park participates in international ecological 0peration
, April 21, 2004
The Valdaisky National Park is taking part in the international "March of Parks" ecological operation. As the Novgorodsky oblast administration's press service reported, arrangements for the operation began in Valdai on April 18. Park staff began preparations in advance for the events to be carried out in such a manner as to coincide with the international nature-conservation "2004 March of Parks" operation. A program for carrying out the events has been developed and verified. Much attention was paid to involving children and students to the festivities.
During the festival, there will be a craft competition for kindergartners, "the Beauty of Nature," whose submissions will be made entirely from natural materials. The Valdaisky students will also have a recitation contest of poems that focus on nature, a story-telling contest, ditto, and various quiz games. "The world in which I live" photography review will show the surrounding environment in a light that is new for the average citizen. In all the educational establishments, park staff are conducting discussions about special protection for the nature of the land and giving ecological lessons. They tell about the endangered animals and plants, which are listed in the RF Red Book. Activities will go until April 22 and finish with Earth Day festivities.
Alma Ata - Ecologists to discuss option of joining Earth Charter
, April 21, 2004
On April 22 and 23 a regional conference is being held in Alma-Ata called "Earth Charter and development of a system of ecological education in Central Asia." This was announced in a press release distributed by one of the conference organizers, the Regional Ecological Center of Central Asia (RECCA).
The press release said that scholars of ecology, biology and geography from the countries of Central Asia are participating in the conference.
Conference participants are sharing operational methods in the areas of eco-education. A presentation about the effective application of the Earth Charter in the region and all over the world will also be held.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
USA - "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to become a movie
, April 20, 2004
A movie will be filmed from the cult novel "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." John Malkovich plays the head of the Humma Kavula religious cult in the screen version. Shooting begins this month under the direction of Garth Jennings. Malkovich's character does not require any re-write of the original material; the late author created the hero especially for the screen, reported Portal Kredo. Mos Def plays Ford Prefect, an alien who is making an interstellar voyage through the galaxy in the company of the protagonist of the movie, Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman). The friends hitch a ride through space with an ex-hippie Zaphod (Sam Rockwell), the beautiful scientist Trillion (Zooey Deschanel), and a robot. Together they try to find the answer to a simple question - what are the universe, life and everything for?
Moscow - Mayor's office announces relocation of Krishna temple
, April 20, 2004
The Interreligious Council of Russia welcomed the announcement by the first deputy mayor of the Moscow administration, Vladimir Resin that a Krishna temple would not be built on Khodynsky field, reported NewsRu.com
"The Moscow authorities have made a more accurate decision on the matter at hand. This can only be welcomed," said the Interreligious council's executive secretary Roman Silantev on April 19.
"The leaders of the traditional religions of Russia," he added, "do not and have not ever doubted that the Moscow government would respect their point of view and not encourage operations in the capital city of a pseudoreligious current such as the Society of Krishna Consciousness."
Mr. Silantev voiced regret that in the course of polemics regarding the Center of Vedic Culture, some opponents of its construction were a little too forward in addressing the Moscow authorities. "The whole story with the attempted construction of the Center of Vedic Culture is testimony that for the sake of achieving their goals the sectarians attempted not only to raise discontent among the traditional religions of Russia, but also to pit them against both the Moscow authorities and the Indian government," he stressed. At the same time he appealed for an "examination of the presentation made by the Society for Krishna Consciousness for the deliberate disinformation inherent to any marginal sect."
The representative of the International Council highly rated the solidarity of the leading spiritual leaders of the country on the matter of the construction of the Krishna temple, "they were unanimous in rising to the common challenge." In conclusion, Roman Silantev expressed hope that the "administrations of other Russian cities would draw a conclusion from this story and would deal with the Krishnas in an appropriate manner."
Nizhny Novgorod - 2nd International "Salon Prestige" exhibit
, April 19, 2004
The second international "Salon Prestige" exhibit will be held from September 29 to October 3 in Nizhny Novgorod. Leading Russian jewelry companies and watch-makers will be taking part. Exhibit organizers include "Nizhegorodskaya Yarmarka" VZAO, the Russian national assay office, the Volgo-Vyatsky state inspection of assay supervision, the Russian Jewelers Guild, "Rosyuvelirexpo" ZAO, "Rossinex" OOO, the Volgo-Vyatskiy saving bank of Russia, and the Nizhegorodsky Oblast government.
The items on exhibit will include: articles of jewelry, insets of diamonds and jewels, jeweled goods for cult-clerical purposes, costume jewelry, commercial equipment, packaging equipment, institutional products, jewelry repair and restoration, raw materials for jewels (precious metals and stones), equipment for the jewelry industry, interior decoration of stone and more.
Novosibirsk - Totalitarian sects a threat to society and democracy
St. Aleksandr Nevskiy Cathedral
, April 19, 2004, by Fr. Aleksandr Novopashin
On March 27 and 28, 2004, the European Federation of Centers for the research of contemporary sectarianism (FECRIS) held an international conference in Marseilles on the topic of "Sects and Health." Taking part in the conference's work were representatives from 19 countries of the world, including Germany, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Cypress, Greece and France. A good part of the speakers were medical specialists in the fields of psychiatry and law, as well as sectology; the specialists there were involved with the problems of the expansion of new religious, pseudo-religious, commercial and other totalitarian cults in society.
Among those invited to the international conference were the chair of the sectology department at the Orthodox St. Tikhon Theological Institute and vice president of the international "Dialog Center" institute for the study of contemporary sectarianism, Professor Aleksandr Leonidovich Dvorkin, and the prior of the Aleksandr Nevskiy cathedral and manager of the Information-Consultation center (a correspondent member of FECRIS) on matters of sectarianism, yours truly, protopriest Aleksandr Novopashin.
It is known how strong the destructive psychological influence of totalitarian sects is upon the psyche of adepts. This influence. This influence is found in one or another degree in absolutely all sects. The leaders of these organizations understand well that it is self-defeating to permit people to re-gather their senses, because in that contrary case they can begin to critically assess a situation that is perfectly unacceptable. In that way are adepts lost. Therefore the psychological processing of sect members continues unbroken. To exercise total control over people, sectarians wear people down by breaking their pace and stopping their thought. People change into slaves, docile machines that can be easily managed. People can be aimed in a certain direction, told what to do, and they do it, even to the point of murder or suicide. These people do not belong to themselves. Their minds have become the property of the sect.
In the "Analytical bulletin of the RF State Duma, issue 28, 1996, of the "defense and security" series, paragraph 8) says that "according to some information, newly formed cults have already attracted from 3 to 5 million people, 70 percent of which are young adults from ages 18 to 27. ... Up to 250,000 families have been destroyed, no lesser number of underage children have been deserted by parents who joined sects. Leaving a sect on one's own is practically impossible, and the one of a thousand who do return home, semi-invalid and unable to work, have yet to find themselves a place in life or in society."
Naturally, sects try to attract physically healthy people who have enough strength to work to the benefit of the sect. But the sick are also tempting little morsels for sectarians, in so far as they are easiest of all to lure into the cult with promises of permanent, sometimes "miraculous" cures. And people who are burdened with serious chronic illness, especially those suffering with oncological diseases, in hopes of a cure they "swallow the bait, and in hopes of a cure they put all their savings into the sect.
All that leaders of totalitarian sects need is complete power over adepts and their money. Recalling what Scientology founder Hubbard said, if you want to get rich, just start your own religion! A similarly cynical state was publicly made by one of Russian leaders of the neo-charismatics (neo-Pentecostals) Ledyaev: "Create your own 'church' and fleece your sheep. Remove seven and and they won't take yours! Who is stopping you, go and live!"
Any sect is a real threat not only the the health of its adepts, but also to the health of those who have not yet joined the sect, but could. This is a serious problem which at the present time is being decided upon in various countries around the world at the highest levels of government. It's not for nothing that the "Sects and Children" international conference, held in Barcelona in 2002, was financied by the government of Catalonia. And the present conference in France is being held with support (including financial) from the government of Marsailles. The National Assembly of France has recognized that, "government canot continue to normally develop if within it the present disaster that sects represent. Remaining passive would not only be irresponsible with regard to poeople who are affected by or who have yielded to the influence of cults, but would be a threat to democratic principles." (L.D. 136-145, vol. 9).
The entire civilized world actively opposes the spread of totalitarian sects. The former youth affairs minister of Catalonia, Rosa-Maria Pizhol said that totalitarian sects were a pathological asocial presence in the contemporary world, and that the state specifically, as opposed to social organizations or religious denominations, should take the lead in resolving the problem. Incidentally, Rosa-Maria Pizhol was elected second president of FECRIS at the conference in Marsailles.
Dozens of lectures could be heard at the conference. It was impossible to tell what was said that was new in principle. But the specialists cited the results of serious research, the speakers used facts and gave a great number of real examples in unconditionally asserting the ruinous impact sects have had on the physical and psychic health of people.
In his statement, Friedrich Griess, of the Austrian association to oppose the dangers of totalitarian sects (the association is an official member of FECRIS; Mr. Griess is personnally familiar with the problems of Norwegian sects in particular), specified that "we are not taking action against religion, but against totalitarian sects that not only ruin the individual, but harm the health of all society."
Friedrich Griess related that as early as the 1970s, government officials started taking steps to create a special commision that would concern itself with research into the destructive actions of various cultic associations. In 1991, hearings on this problem were held in the Bundestag. In 1993, five sect specialists appeared before members of the Austrian parliament, sectologists who gave detailed information about the activities of destructive sects on national territory. As a result, the Austrian parliament unanimously decided that the government would get involved with this problem. In 1996, a half million copies (an especially high number for that European country) of a brochure were distributed that discussed the basic issues related to sects. Besides that, a federal bureau of sect affairs was created, which occupied itself with collecting information on the activities of one or another sect, and with consultation for government agencies and for private persons.
With the interesting speakers appeared professor of psychiatry Bratislav Petrovic, who is a colonel in the medical corps, professor of psychiatry Max H. Friedrich of the Vienna Medical University, and the famous French psychiatrist J.F. Armogathe. In France he published a book, "Sects and the psychological influence of sects on their adepts," in which the author tells about pathological changes in the psyches of the sectarians.
Very important for Russia was the speech by Doctor Pierre Swartling, who until just recently headed the National council for health services and social care in Switzerland (the equivalent of our Health Services Ministry. In their own psychiatric clinic, Doctor Swartling and his wife Gutrun, a doctor of psychiatry, have studying the condition of psychic health of several dozen people who were adepts of totalitarian neo-charismatic sects, including one of the most prolific in Russia. Their studies show that 93 percent of the sectarians experience panic attacks, 86 percent suffer from sleep disturbances, 88 percent have a feeling of devastation, 75 percent have difficulty in concentrating their attention, 77 percent were afraid of losing their minds, 60 percent sensed a change in personality within themselves. Every fourth subject had made a serious attempt at suicide, and that idea had already occurred to the majority of remainder.
Of those surveyed, 63 percent stated they had had stomach problems, palpitations, headaches and dizziness, which they had not had previously. This could be an indication of psychosomaticd illnesses.
After the conference, we, with professor Dvorkin, managed to ask the Swartlings several questions. One of the things I asked was how serious were the risks in the neo-charismatic sect, and the scholars replied that this sect was extraordinarily risky in that its members came to be absolutely dependent upon their leaders. they said that they had posed exactly the same question to the director of one of the rehabilitation centers in the USA, Paul Martin, who said that this sect was more perilous than others because its adepts unquestioningly accepted the will of their leader as if it were the will of God.
Pierre and Gudrun Swartling recalled the criminal drama that had shaken Sweden and Norway. It had transpired just several weeks before in a neo-pentecostal community in the Swedish village of Knutby, not far from the city of Upsal, the center of the "Word of Life" neo-pentecostal totalitarian sect. The wife of the senior pastor was murdered and her neighbor was seriously injured. His wife, as it later turned out, had been involved in an affair with the pastor. The perpetrator was a young woman who was also a pastor who was acting on her senior's instructions. Incidentally, the woman who was killed was the pastor's second wife. The first died in 1999 under mysterious circumstances. There has been new interest in investigating that case after it was found that a murder had been committed later on. Swedish specialists say that all the members of the community submitted completely to the pastor and followed his instructions unquestioningly.
During this Gudrun Swartling underscored that the neo-charismatic movement was especially dangerous for young people in that when recruiting young people, recruiters promised them a brighter future, impeccable health and material prosperity and anything else that seems important to those in their early years.
Among other things, the Swarlings lamented about overly liberal laws in Switzerland not allowing adequately effective resistance to totalitarian sects, the neo-charismatics in particular. Other specialists at the conference spoke about that, too. For example, attorney Ingo Heinemann from Germany had proposed preventing the Scientologists from skillfully evading the law with the help of a consumer protection law. Scientology makes its adepts go to seminars to increase motivation, where they are subjected to harsh psychological influence. Instead of making their motivation stronger, it makes their wallets thinner, in that these seminars can be very expensive. But if the sect is regarded as an organization that offers low-quality goods to consumers, then once these cases build up, the activity of the Scientologists can be prohibited in the country. Al Capone serves as an example. Back in the 1930s, the Chicago authorities were not able to prove that he was a gangster, but he was put in prison nevertheless for failing to pay taxes.
Ingo Heinemann stressed that the Scientologists represented the most active totalitarian sect in Germany. it was so active that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Germany's Homeland Security) had its goings-on under observation.
Several speeches were devoted to alternative medicine. For example, acupuncture being disseminated by adepts as an alternative form of healing was covered. A hundred thousand people have fallen into that trap. In 1998, researchers T.J. Kaptchuk and D.M. Eisenberg published an article about the "Attraction of non-traditional medicine" (Ann Intern Med 1998; 129: 1061-5) in which they wrote words to the effect that "the ill, in going to representatives of non-traditional medicine, form a singular religious sect, even if they are not always aware of it ... For them the non-traditional methods become rituals, during which people realize their convictions and from this attain relief and gratification." The authors also stress that in essence the "methods of non-traditional medicine are religious" in nature.
Edward Ernst, the director of a medical school from Great Britain, focused his speech on the problem of homeopathy, which is one more alternative method, the effectiveness of which is not proven. In Great Britain, a good many placebo-controlled studies were conducted whose results convincingly show the clear ineffectiveness of homeopathic means. However homeopathy continues to attract patients without the slightest proof, either by creating an aura of mystery around itself or by coloring its methods with scientific imagery.
So could alternative medicine have attained such a wide propagation throughout the world? This question was addressed by Donald O. Mathuna from Ireland. He said that over the course of many centuries, medicine and the Christian religion were closely intertwined with each other. Disease was looked upon as the consequence of sin. It used to be that monks were the ones that were involved in healing. They lived in monasteries and that's where the ill were brought. People confessed their sins to eradicate the source of their disease, prayed for health and obtained a medicinal remedy. In recent times, though, medicine has separated from religion and become an independent discipline, applied in the main corner of bodily appearance, began to have an effect on disease through the body without taking the person's spiritual state into account. However a spiritual void is still there. This empty spot is of interest to alternative medicine, pseudo-medical practices and occultism.
In the lobby I managed to have a conversation with an American, David Briar, who has been involved for many years with the problems of commercial cults, such as Amway. To the question of what the difference was between totalitarian sects and commercial cults, he replied that he did not make a distinction between them. There were difference, he granted between them, such as the lure which sectarians used to attract people into the sect. Then, after the bait is taken they use the same methods of "brainwashing" as any other totalitarian sect does. So if a neo-charismatic can promise a cure for an incurable disease, then Amway talks about the unique opportunities for financial success, career growth, organizing your own business and essentially anything else that fits in with the American ideal. And so many take the bait. According to David Briar's information, 1 in 6 adults have had some form of contact with this commercial cult. He said that millions of Americans have been taken over the past several years, but that despite the deception, there is no lack of new adepts.
The adepts have not made a profit from their "business." The few people that control everything within the sect would never admit that. When the new adepts see that they aren't getting anything, they come to the organization to ask them for help. The organizers offer to sell them books, cassettes, to have them attend very pricey seminars to learn to properly conduct their affairs and to attain high profits. This is done, however, to squeeze the adepts for money. 80 percent of the profits made by the leaders of the sect come from the sale of their own literature, videotapes, and by holding seminars. So people don't stay in Amway for very long, just until there's no more money. On the other hand there are people who have been in Amway for years. As a rule, these people who are obsessed with the idea of attaining success in the Amway system. The special work begins with them, specifically, in cleverly suppressing critical thought, a result of which they regard themselves as missionaries, bearers of divine ideas; they speak about the Amway system as a divine mandate, and those who disagree with them they regard as adepts of Satan. The religious motif emerges in the commercial cult in its hierarchical steps.
After that Professor Aleksandr Leonidovich Dvorkin stepped up with a lecture on pseduo-medical sects and totalitarian sects with medical-sounding names in the countries of the former USSR.
In principle there are very many totalitarian sects that, in greater or lesser degree, use a medical front for recruitment. The "medical" sects that have emerged include the "Zolotova Academy for frontal problems," Hope Antonenko's pseudo-Orthodox rehabilitation "Center of Hope," N. Koslov's "Sinton," Rusheli Blavo's cult (Haimova), "Shkola Lzhasy" (A. Chervonenko), "Ecology of Human Behavior" (Ethics of Human Behavior"), Farkhat Ata's "Ayat," "Amata-Sirius" of Mushicha, Porfiriy Ivanov's sect and a great deal more. As was also mentioned, the "Brotherhood of the Violet Flame," the neo-charismatic "Movement of Faith," the Scientology church (called "Narconon" or "Dianetics Center" in Russia), Sahaja Yoga and Vissarion-Torop's "church of the last testament" were among those sects that used "medical" practices for recruitment and who had worldwide influence. The theme of "medical" sects evoked much interest, and Aleksandr Dvorkin responded to many questions.
Plans are being made for an international scientific-practical conference on "Sects and Government" in Novosibirsk, Russia. Those who have expressed an interest in the future conference include the president of the interministerial commission to combat the sect presence for the Prime Minister of France, Jean-Luis Lengle, the former first deputy for the foreign affairs ministry of Great Britain Thomas Sackwill, chairman of the Austrian government department to study sects Herman Mueller, Bavaria's Internal Affairs Minister Guenther Beckstein, government officials and experts on matters of sectarianism, including doctors and psychiatrists from these and other countries of western and eastern Europe.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Republic of Buryatia - Sacral sites, located and described
, April 16, 2004
In Ulan-Ude an illustrated album is being prepared of sacral sites that are situated in Buryatia and Chitinsky Oblasts. In them are entered for the first time the location and description of nearly 120 Buddhist and shamanist shrines, many of which are considered to be unique memorials of Baikal culture.
The publication of a chart of sacral sites in Buryatia and Chitinsky Oblasts is the result of five years of research work by scholars from the Institute for the study of Mongolia, Buddhist and Tibet (IMBiT) of the SO RAN. The expedition was carried out by means of a grant from the Russian Foundation of Fundamental Research.
The chart will have pictures and descriptions of nearly 120 cult shrines that to this day are sites of pilgrimages for Buddhists and shamans, reported Surun-Khanda Syrtypova, senior academic staff of the department for memorial literature of the IMBiT SO RAN. Besides the location of monasteries, the album carries detailed descriptions of little-known holy sites that are located in the hard-to-get-to districts of Oka, Tunka, the Barguzinsky valley and Ononsky district of Chitinsky oblast. For example, on East Sayan mountain the scholars made a rare find - an ancient altar and ritual accouterments that are as yet well preserved. According to Surun-Khandy Syrtypova, there is now information sufficient enough to pinpoint the chronology of these sites. It can be asserted with certainty, though, that believers have been worshipping at these sites for more than a century. During the expedition the scholars came to a sorrowful conclusion. The condition of the majority of the shrines produced a poor impression. A site that had been visited by several dozen generations of Buddhists and shamans was literally covered with trash.
The senior residents were concerned, wrote the "Inform Polis" newspaper, that the desecration of a holy place by such barbarian people could rapidly decrease the holy force.
Kiev - Ambassador of God at work
, April 14, 2004
On Friday, April 2, an operation was carried out in Kiev by the "Embassy of God," headed by Sunday Adelaja, whose adherents are demanding of the capital city government an extension of the lease for the premises the church is using on the athletic field at Bereznyaki. They are also demanding allocation of land on which to build a church.
Estimates have ranged from 10 to 17 thousand "ambassadors" who marched from the Sports center in the Kreshchatik district, where Kiev's administration buildings are located, in which connection the right side of the street was blocked.
The meeting began at 4 p.m. in the mayor's offices, with some of the participants chanting "Jesus is our Lord" and other religious slogans. Near the building of Kiev's city administration, picketers carried signs saying, "Grant us land for church construction," "We don't believe you're against us," and "We bless Kiev." However, since Adelaja blessed the bloodshed in Iraq in the name of the people of the Ukraine and Russia, the value of such a blessing is quite clear.
Representatives of the Christian-Liberal Party of the Ukraine, led by people's deputy Leonid Chernovetsky, also participated in this operation.
"Ambassador of God" Sunday Adelaja told journalists about how, after the picket of November 13, 2003, in which nearly 700 people took part, Kiev mayor Aleksandr Omelchenko promised the religious community that it would be allocated land upon which to build a church, but that promise has yet to be fulfilled. "Not one promise has been fulfilled," said the pastor. "If the government can't keep its promise, who can?" he added.
Especially interesting from the mouth of Nigerian citizen S. Adelaja, "This is an operation which is supposed to demonstrate that we, the believers, are citizens of this country."
- material from http://www.newsru.com and http://www.korrespondent.net
Kalmyk - Vladimir Yakovlev visits
, April 18, 2004
Vladimir Yakovlev, plenary representative of the President of Russia to YuFO, arrived in Alista on April 16th for a two-day working visit. He was met at the airport by Kalmyk president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, vice president Valeriy Bogdanov, representative of the Khural people Vyachesav Bembetov, administration representative Anatoliy Kosachko, and heads of the regional agencies of federal ministries and departments.
The goal of V. Yakovlev's visit is to obtain a clearer picture of the socio-economic situation in the republic, what options are available for solving pressing problems, and to assess which of them are to be used and where to apply aid from federal centers.
One of the most critical problems demanding urgent attention is the shortage of potable water. This is not the only major problem, but is a make-or-break point for economics. "Without water the republic cannot develop. Of the many issues that need close attention, the water project takes top priority. Apart from that, deciding the other problems will be simple. The second area is investment. To resuscitate the economics of the republic, issues on the port of Lagan need more attention." The directors of the republic's ministries and agencies were unanimous on this at the conference today. "We discussed the basic items - how many economic indicators this port would really build and what are the essentials for this project to take place. Details have been worked out and it is for the consideration of these issues that I arrived in the republic," said the political representative in an interview with journalists at the airport.
From the airport Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, Vladimir Yakovlev and the accompanying party went to the Alistinsky mill for primary conversion of wool, then the presidential cortege went to the Alistinsky Khurul, where a Tibetan monk was saying prayers especially for the visitor. After getting acquainted with the Kalmyk cult establishment, the delegation paid a visit to the Kazan shrine.
The tour through Alista continued. The guests visited the "Uralan" entertainment-cultural center, after which they visited a construction complex, a gas-turbine thermal power station under construction, an athletic training center and the "Exodus and Return" memorial.
Then Vladimir Yakovlev had a meeting with ministry and department managers on the issue of the water supply for the republic's population areas.
After the meeting, there was a press conference for journalists. At the encounter with representatives of the mass media, Vladimir commented, among other things, that today's main objective was to get money allocated from the federal budget to resolve the problem of the water supply in Kalmyk.
Saint Petersburg - ethnological museum serves as model for Afghan city of Herat
, April 17, 2004
Members of an expedition undertaken for the Russian ethnographic museum in the Afghan province of Herat have returned safely to Petersburg. As was reported to "Rosbalt" in the Ethnographic Museum, the Russian specialists set off for Afghanistan at the end of March. This action was the first one for a scientific expedition to Afghanistan in the last 50 years to study the traditional culture of the people. The basic objective of the venture was to render assistance to Afghan colleagues in the creation of a national ethnographic museum in Herat.
The museum will be housed in buildings, one of which was built in 1680. According to expedition participant Dmitry Baranov, this quarter was slated for demolition, as has been the fate for many old buildings in Herat, but plans for the creation of an ethnographic museum served as a reason to change that decision. The value of the district, in the opinion of the specialists, consisted of it being a graphic illustration "of a source of the living ethnographic reality" of contemporary Afghanistan, in which the usual, for Europeans, facets of cities and villages were absent.
The object of research for the scholars was the study of the means for organizing a museum and the status of the traditional material culture of Afghanistan, which has succeeded in eluding the impact of western civilization. Historic Afghanistan, on whose territory no fewer than 20 ethnic groups reside, is a neighbor to countries that host Islamic, Buddhist and Hellenistic cults. It is on the territory of modern Afghanistan, however, that one of the most interesting religions in the history of mankind originated - Zoroastrianism. Russian researchers have suggested that it is precisely because of forced isolation that evidence of ancient culture has been preserved on Afghan territory to a degree not found elsewhere.
The museum in Herat will be created on the model of the Russian Ethnographic Museum - the "family of people" museum. Appearing as one of the initiators of its creation was Herat province governor Ismail Khana, who was killed by conspirators the week before the expedition arrived. The expedition came into being on the initiative of the Afghan culture ministry, with support from the RF culture and RF MID agencies.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Irkutsk Oblast - setting bounds for sale of alcoholic beverages
, April 15, 2004
The bounds of the land for sale of alcoholic beverages have been set in Bratsk, as was reported in the Bratsk administrations press office.
The resolution "On the establishment of land adjoining sites of mass gatherings of citizens and isolating a source of increased risk to wholesale food market, and also children, education, cult and medical-preventive institutions in 2004." It was signed April 12 by Bratsk mayor Aleksandr Petrunko. As was said in the Bratsk administration press office, the document determined the boundaries of the land, near which sale of alcoholic beverages was forbidden. So, according to the new resolution, sale of beverages is not supposed to occur within 50 meters of the walls of childrens, educational or medical-preventive institutions.
Moscow - Schweik appears on stage of satire theater
, April 15, 2004, Olga Svistunova
The Good Soldier Schweik will be appearing on the stage of the Moscow theater of satire for the first time. This means that the fondest dream of the theater's artistic director, people's artist of Russia Aleksandr Shirvindt, is close to being realized. "All my life I've dreamt of putting on the great production by Yaroslav Hasek, which has never come to the theater of satire," he affirmed today in an interview with a correspondent from ITAR-TASS. The premiere of the long-awaited performance is taking place April 21st.
According to the stage manager, he sees several connections in the cult novel that are applicable to the current day, and permits himself "to be stylistically emancipated, extremely musical, freely multi-genred and self-ironic." The author's title, "The Adventures of the Good Soldier Schweik" changed, of course, in Satire. Here it's more in synch with the times: "Schweik, or Hymn to Idiotism." The performance is done in the form of a political review in which only male actors take part. The principles of Shakespearean theater are in mode today.
The youthful talents of Aleksei Kolgan and Aleksandr Zhigalkin are laboring over Hasek's theme in the script. The music is composed by Andrei Semenov and the scenery designed by Boris Messerer. Eduard Radzyukevich is appearing in the role of Josef Schweik. Also acting, singing, dancing and cracking jokes in the play are Mikhail Derzhavin, Yuriy Avsharov, Fedor Dobronravov, Igor Lagutin, Sergei Burunov, Konstantin Karasik and others. The producer is Aleksandr Shirvindt, who accepts all responsibility for the bold army fantasy that is being created on the theater's stage.
Tajikistan - Christian pastor's killer arrested
, April 15, 2004
Sogdiysky Oblast, Tajikistan, has made public the criminal activity of an underground religious-extremist movement, "Baiat," which means "covenant" in Arabic, which has been implicated in a great number of felonies based on racial and religious enmity, including the murder at the end of 2003 of the director of the local Baptist congregation, Sergei Bessarabi.
As a source in the power structure indicated on April 12th, "the religious fanatics had also committed a whole string of crimes in other regions in the country, as well as abroad." According to the spokesman, adherents of the "Baiat" movement perpetrated barbaric deeds and desecrated Christian cult structures and Islamic mosques with equal brutality, set fire to buildings and burnt Islamic religious books. In 2003, several mosques were defaced or burnt down just in the Isfarinsky district of Sogdiysky Oblast, because their attendants, in the opinion of the extremists, were involved in collaborative politics with the government, reported ITAR-TASS.
There is information, the source noted, that "Baiat" activists, which include a number of Tajik citizens, fought on the side of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and some of these are now in prison on the American base of Guantanamo. According to other information, cells of this religious-extremist movement are in a number of the republic's districts. At the present time there are connections between "Baiat" and a number of radical Islamist organizations outside the country.
Moscow - Who gets Khodynsky Field?
, April 15, 2004, Tatyana VGladykina
Members of the Society for Krishna Consciousness have brought a complaint to the district attorney for the appearance of city Duma deputy Natalia Narochnitskaya at a meeting of people opposing the construction of the Krishna temple. In the opinion of the Society for Krishna Consciousness, Natalia Narochnitskaya incited inter-religious discord.
"I am not coming out against the right of the Krishnas to have accommodations for their cult, which is a registered organization," said city Duma deputy Natalia Narochnitskaya this evening at a press conference dedicated to stopping the construction of the Krishna temple. "Rather, we are against a temple of such unprecedented size that would turn Moscow into the capital of the Krishna world.
To all appearances, the protest against construction centers on the proposed dimensions and location. The original plan depicted a Krishna temple with a height of 70 meters on Khodynsky field.
"The site would have been more suited to an Orthodox Church," declared Natalia Narochnitskaya.
In the opinion of construction opponents, it's impossible to contest the right of the Moscow Hindu community to have its own temple. However, first of all, it should be a temple of one of the currents of the Hindu mainstream, and not a newly formed extremist sect. Secondly, a principle of proportionality ought to be applied: Hinduism is not a religion traditional to Russia, and a Hindu cult building could not be of the same size as the leading cult buildings of our traditional religions.
None of the capital cities in Europe or America have given land to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness for such a large-scale construction of cult architectural establishment.
The pages of the Moscow center for Vedic culture at www.veda.ru reports that the "mass media are giving incorrect information about the size of the future Krishna temple."
Aleksandr Dvorkin has also observed that even though the 70-meter monolith has purportedly shrunk to 49 meters, the cult temple is still a 15 minute walk from the Kremlin, and this is an attempt to impress the entire world with the grandiose structure.
However, in the opinion of construction opponents, the issue about the pseudo-Hinduist sect is related to all the traditional deficiencies of such religious associations - scandalous reputation in the West for illegal and criminal activity, extortion, forgery, and so forth.
The basic doctrines of the cult, to put it mildly, call for anti-social and inhumane attitude toward their critics - people who do not worship Krishna are considered to be inferior.
Irkutsk - Icon-tanku exhibit opens at art museum
, April 15, 2004, Yana Stabrovkaya
A unique opportunity to become acquainted with Buddhist religious paintings is coming up for the residents of the regional center. The icon-tanku exhibit opened in the museum of art. All the items are from a collection by Irkustsk resident Aleksandr Ivanshchenko.
Translated, "tanku" means "scroll" or "icon." The exhibition consolidates cult paintings of the most diverse schools: Chinese, Tibetan, Mongol and Buryat. The oldest scrolls, which include tanku from the 18th and 19th centuries, are specimens from the Buddhist "deity" pantheon. Strictly speaking, this type is meant for the interior of Buddhist temples or for one's family altar. Most of all, though, this work is an inalienable part of the history of the people of the East. Interest in it is growing not only in Russia. "So, just like the Russian people put up icons now, in the East tanku is undergoing a revival, it is the same link with the divine," says Aleksandr Ivashchenko, collector.
The link with the divine is also supported by Russian contemporary artists. One of them is Nikolai Dudko. The master says that tanku painting strictly follow the ancient principles: coarse canvas, paint of natural minerals, and gold, brocade and silk for a frame. And also: peace and reconciliation to transmit fluidity, ease of drawing and refinement of color, which is peculiar to the ancient scrolls.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Kamchatsky Oblast - Student rock concert sponsored by youth department
, April 14, 2004, Vasiliy Volkov
On April 28th a "Student rock" concert will be held in the DOFE under the guidance of the youth affairs department of the Kamchatsky Oblast administration.
Student rock groups will be participating. Applications have already been submitted by the groups "Sanaton," "Proscenium," and "Biodom." The audience will also be happy to hear, that besides popular groups singing songs for the teenage girls, an appearance is also expected by the renowned cult rock group "Ace Ventura."
Moscow - Cultural memorials holding open house
, April 14, 2004
This year the main office for the protection of memorials in the city of Moscow is preparing 71 architectural memorials for display on the Day of historical and cultural legacy of Moscow city.
As N.A. Potapova, a representative of the main office for the protection of memorials, stated, a number of new articles will be added to the list of cultural and civic properties, as well as a palatial building. For example, this year Muscovites and guests will be able to visit the Tarasov house at Spiridonovka (where the Institute of Asia and Africa RAN now is), and to see a memorial of wooden architecture - the Palibiny building (where there is now one of the restoration institution branches). For the first time a mansion in Nikol-Vorobinsky Alley will be shown - the "Mayak" residential home (where the Semashko NII now is). Also, several Moscow churches agreed to open for tours on the Day of historical and cultural legacy of Moscow.
N.A. Potapova reported that from year to year various diplomatic offices situated in memorial buildings open their doors as cultural legacies. This year the Australian detachment, which is located in the Derashinsky house, and the Embassy of New Zealand, located in the Mendovsky mansion on Povarsky, will open their doors, was will the Embassy of Indonesia.
Russia - Missionaries need to understand most Russians are Russian Orthodox
, April 14, 2004
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Aleksiy II stated that the Society for Krishna Consciousness was a serious threat to inter-religious peace in Russia, reported "Interfax." An example of the highly valued level of mutual understanding between the traditional religions of the country, cited by the Patriarch, was "the recent unanimous censure of the project for the Krishna sect putting up a huge cult building in Moscow, and of obsessive proselytizing which creates serious threat for inter-religious peace."
At the same time, Aleksiy II mentioned the "rather complicated" dialogue with several Christian denominations of western origin on the issue of missions and proselytizing. "From our point of view," explained the Patriarch, "if various Christian currents want to live with each other in peace, they need to forego conversion of members of the other churches to their own belief."
Thus, added Aleksiy II in an interview with the "Edinaya Rossiya" newspaper, "When foreign missionaries arrive in our country, they need to understand that the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of Russia have been baptized as Orthodox Christians and are members of the Orthodox Church. The Society for Krishna Consciousness seriously threatens inter-religious peace in Russia."
Returning to cooperation among representatives of traditional religions of Russia, Aleksiy II commented specifically on cooperation in the social sphere. In the opinion of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, "this position on things is shared as a result of many centuries of peaceful coexistence among Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, and by a high level of contemporary inter-religious dialogue."
Moscow - Proposed construction of Krishna temple
, April 14, 2004
Dissatisfaction is growing in the capital with the plans for the construction of a huge Krishna center at Khodynsky field. Opponents of this idea pose the question of why a country, where followers of the Vedic teachings do not number more than five thousand, needs the biggest Krishna temple in Europe. For them this seems peculiar, the more so because representatives of the traditional religious denominations in the city are not able to obtain a permit from the capital city authorities for their own cult structures.
Thousands of signatures against one. One takes precedence - the signature of the Moscow official who authorizes the construction of the biggest Krishna temple in Europe. With a height of 50 meters, in four years it will be visible in the capital on Leningrad Boulevard.
Among the thousands of opponents to this building are deputy Natalia Narochnitskaya and religious scholar Aleksandr Dvorkin, whom the Krishnas have previously brought to court. The deputy says she has nothing personal against the Krishnas, "We come out against a temple of dimensions so unprecedented as to turn Moscow into the Krishna capital of the world, especially since the Society of Krishna Consciousness is not a religion traditional to Russia," said the deputy. "The size of the temple needs to be commensurate with the number of believers," a representative of the clergy supported the politician elected by the people, "and it needs to be situated somewhere other than Khodynsky field." "That is a location held sacred by all Russians, a site of tragedy," explained Egoryevskiy Bishop Mark.
The Orthodox are not the only ones taking umbrage. The Buddhists have been writing letters to Moscow officials for ten years in vain. Their request for construction of a spiritual center has been rejected, and 15,000 parishioners attend services through tentative registration, otherwise they would not have three small rooms to accommodate them. "Our rights are limited, and we represent a traditional religion. Why isn't our temple being built in Moscow?" asked the head of the Buddhist traditional Sanghi of Russia in Moscow, Sanzhai Lama.
Speaking about the size of their temple, the Krishnas themselves underscore that the main thing is the comfort of the young adherents of their organization, which, by world standards, is religious. "We will help all followers of Hinduism celebrate their holidays and fulfill their religious requirements, and do this without being crowded," explained a staff member from the public relations office of Moscow's Krishna church, Maksim Osipov.
The head of the sectology department of the Orthodox St. Tikhon theological institute, Professor Dvorkin, is confidant that the Krishnas, who are building the temple, want more than anything else to establish themselves in Europe. "Not long ago in India," the professor related, "the head of the Russian "Krishna Consciousness" association informed his co-religionists that they had obtained a splendid parcel just 15 minutes from the Kremlin. But then he says that this is not at all a central location, and we will build an edifice there so grandiose it will impress all of Europe."
Why the Krishnas decided to build a temple in Russia, of all places, becomes clear when the position by other European authorities about the construction of cult establishments in their countries is taken into consideration. "There are many Russian Orthodox in Zurich, and they resolved to build a Russian Orthodox church," narrates the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the chairman of the department of external church relations of the Moscow patriarchy, Cyril. "They were refused by the city council. The reason was simple: a Russian Orthodox church does not correspond to the cultural tradition and architectural profile of the city of Zurich. The discussion was completely closed. No sort of appeal to the Constitution or to human rights. It was closed. And you know, we are in agreement with that position."
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Murmansk - Tourist company interested in Lapland preserve
, April 13, 2004
Over the course of several days, a delegation from the Danni tourist company examined the possibility of developing foreign tourism in the Murmansk province under the TASIS project.
As was reported to a "Rosbalt" correspondent on Tuesday in the information department of the regional administration, Danish experts acquainted themselves with the Monchegorsk, and also sites of tourism in three sanctuary regions - Kandalakshsky, Pasvika and Lapland. In their opinion, the Lapland preserve has the best chance of attracting foreign tourists. The final choice will be made on a visit by the delegation, which is scheduled to occur in May.
As a reminder, the Lapland preserve was founded in 1930 in the central part of the Kola Peninsula. Its area is nearly 300,000 hectares. A cult site of the native inhabitants, the Saami, is located within sanctuary borders. Although industry is being actively developed on the Kola Peninsula, preserve land is home to more than 500 types of protected plants. More than 180 types of birds live in the coniferous and pine forests, and 13 types of fish in the lakes and streams. The Lapland preserve is on land that tourists have been drawn to even without being organized.
Russia - "Smack the Pingu" game on mobile telephone
, April 13, 2004, Nina Shlykova
A long-standing Internet cult game, "Smack the Pingu," which has been downloaded more than 150 million times in 10 weeks, has now appeared in a version supported by Java for Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson mobile telephones.
The game is also fascinating in that everyone or nearly everyone knows how it goes. The snow people stop the penguins in flight and throw their baseball bats at them. The further the penguins fly, the better. References to the game are made on ICQ, LiveJournal and other blogs by many Internet users. People share impressions about the game and show each other screen shots of their achievements. The highest officially recorded score is 323.5 meters.
According to information from lapsha.ru, indirect damage from the game, which on 19 January employees of private and government establishments expended a significant number of working hours, stood at more than 5 billion dollars. This figure exceeds the total damages done by the e-mail viruses "Melissa," "I Love You," "Klez" and "Love Bug" combined. Now this calamity is making its appearance on mobile phones, too.
The Arvato mobile and Medienwerkstatt companies have released a whole series of games in partnership with the snow people and the penguins, "Yeti Sports Decathlon." The game will be distributed through cell phones connections and Internet portals.
Leningradsky Oblast - Jehovahs Witnesses try to gain ground
, April 13, 2004
It has been said that the "Jehovahs Witnesses" are launching an active attempt to enlist the support of one of the leading municipalities in Leningradsky Oblast. As the main argument in the discussion, the Jehovahs Witnesses are reported to be showing a possible financial interest in the upcoming electoral campaign of its potential sponsor. The aim of the religious organization is to gain ground in every sense: the acquisition of a lot for construction of its own center in Leningradsky Oblast.
As background to this, the "Jehovahs Witnesses" were refused land for construction of a center in Sosnovy Bor. An earlier decision the city made about allotment of land was overturned on the basis of results of a local referendum. Over 90 percent of the residents in Sosnovy Bor opposed a cult building in the city for the Jehovahs Witnesses, saying that having a nuclear power plant in the neighborhood was enough for them.
Emissaries from the Jehovahs Witnesses have been visiting several municipal administrations in Leningradsky Oblast, it has been reported.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Yekaterinburg - Easter holidays pass pleasantly
, April 12, 2004
The holiday of Easter went by pleasantly in Yekaterinburg. This was reported to "Noviy Regiony" by the UVD Yekaterinburg press service. During the holiday period there not a single infringement of law and order was determined.
Note was made of the fact that more than a thousand employees of the law enforcement agencies were on duty on this day off in the Ural capital to guard the public order. Reinforcement of police patrols and DPS units kept an eye on traffic while services were being carried out in shrines and churches.
According to the Yekaterinburg diocese, during the time parishioners were celebrating Easter, all 360 shrines and churches in Sverdlovsk province were open, which includes 50 within the bounds of Yekaterinburg. Taking into consideration that all the cult sites were full of people Easter night, one can draw the conclusion that more than 50,000 people took part in church services in the provincial center.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Moscow - Life and works of Leni Riefenstahl exhibit
, April 9, 2004
On April 22 the Dom Nashchokina and the editors of Kinostsenarii magazine will host a photo presentation dedicated to the life and works of Leni Riefenstahl.
The name Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) itself has evoked contradictory attitudes throughout the world for nearly 70 years. Over her long life, one of the most brilliant representatives of the last century experienced both total hatred and admiration. She was a beautiful dancer with a distinctive Aryan appearance, talented actress (at one time she even rivaled Marlene Dietrich on the screen), cult documentary-producer (her movie "Olympia" about the Olympic games that were held in Germany in 1936 made the ten best documentary movies of all time), unsurpassed photographer, and an exceptional master of underwater photography (she was certified as a skin-diver at age 70, making the Guiness book of world records). In retrospect the showings of Leni Riefenstahl's movies and exhibitions of her photographic works have enjoyed great success in many countries of the world. She was compelled to justify her most significant movies, "Triumph of Will" (1934) and "Olympia" (1938), her entire life. "Because of 'Triumph of Will' I experienced 30 law suits and went into the psychiatric clinic for two years. I was accused of having aided the Nazis coming to power in Germany with my movies. But I was never involved in politics. I devoted my entire life to art. In everything I did, including my movies, I tried to find an interesting turn, to create the unforgettable artistic aspect. I was never a politician, I am an artist."
The main part of the exposition holds nearly 100 photographs shot by Leni Riefenstahl on repeated expeditions to East Africa of the Nubian tribes, who do not maintain contact with the outside world, reported GIF.RU. There will be samples of shots of Nubian combat, cult rituals, dancing holidays, war paint on the bodies of young men, women's tattoos and routine life of the Nubians, along with shots of the most picturesque corner of the underwater world and its exotic dwellers.
More than a hundred biographical photographs and material on the life of Leni Riefenstahl will also be displayed in the gallery. The exhibit will include a showing of the movies "Triumph of Will" and "Olympia," which made the name of Leni Riefenstahl part of world history, and the Ray Mueller movie "The Beautiful and Terrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl."
Address: Vorotnikovskiy Pereulok., d. 12. Open for visitors 12 noon to 7 p.m. starting April 23rd.
Azerbaijan - Sectarians brought 100,000 books into country
, April 3, 2004
Baku. Representatives of international religious sects have brought in and legally distributed more than 100,000 pieces of literature in independent Azerbaijan. This was reported at a round table conference on Friday by the head of the republic Center of Religious Research (CRR), Alchin Askerov. Incidentally, according to statistics, more than ten religious sects, which are not associated with traditional religion, are operating in Azerbaijan. Their acitivities are characterized by specialists of the State committee for issues of religion as destructive.
According to Askerov, 8 or 10 years ago the number of sects in Azerbaijan had reached 20. However, many of them were prohibited at the legislative level. The basic reason was because of the doctrine they distributed, such as not to kill. In a time of war this activity was assessed by organs of state security as sabotage. The speaker also complained that in suppressing the illegal activities of religious sects, they often ran into interference from foreign governments.
It was mentioned that (the "religious freedom" department of) the US State Department's annual report of last year noted a prisoner of conscience from Azerbaijan. This was Ilgar Ibragimoglu, an Islamic sectarian who did not split from a traditional theological direction. He awaits court judgment on a case concerning mass disturbances on October 16th of last year, in which he figured as an organizer of the havoc.
Ukraine - number of foreign missionaries decreasing
, April 9, 2004
Over the course of 3 years, the number of foreign missionaries in the Ukraine is on a decline. Last year 11,947 representatives of foreign religious centers and organization from more than 14 counties came into the Ukraine on a religious visa. This is 256 fewer people than the year prior.
As Ukraine Justice Minister Alexandr Lavrinovich recapped the operations of 2003 by the State committee for issues of religion, the most popular region for last year's visits by foreign missionaries was Zakarpat, which 685 religious figures visited to this end. Besides that, 646 missionaries visited Poltavsky oblast, 453 Donetsky oblast, 530 Dnepropetrovsky oblast, 420 Zhotomirsky oblast and 362 visited Vinnitsky oblast.
The minister noted that the most prevalent reason for visits to the Ukraine by foreign religious figures was inter-church collaboration and exchange of experience. The Ukraine had 4,835 people visit with these goals.
3,760 came to the Ukraine last year with the purpose of ministerial service, preaching and proselytizing. For carrying out humanitarian programs there were 1,040 people, for instruction and educational activity - 801, for pilgrimages - 557, taking part in conferences and congresses - 518, and for construction of cult establishments there were 66.
Of these 6,283 people came from the USA, 793 from Germany, 654 from the Scandinavian countries, 564 from Israel, 441 from Poland, 428 from Great Britain, 310 from Canada, then 420 from Asian countries and elsewhere.
A. Lavrinovich also reported that the international events put on by religious organizations in the Ukraine last year included the Jehovah’s Witnesses World Conference, the Congress of lay Catholics of Eastern Europe, the International Conference of the all-Ukrainian alliance of Evangelical Christian Baptists, which was dedicated to the 100 year anniversary of the first translation of the Bible into the Ukrainian language, and also the national Jewish cultural-religious holiday of Khanuka of the Khabbad-Lyubavich Jewish religious community.
Brazil - Joao Donato, bossa-nova founder
, April 9, 2004
Repeatedly a winner of the prestigious Grammy and Oscar awards, composer, pianist and arranger Joao Donato represents the founder of one of the most brilliant currents of jazz - bossa-nova. For the last 40 years the great musician has been a cult figure not only in Brazil, but around the world.
He's had a huge number of records released in Japan, the USA, Latin America and western Europe. The simplicity, sexuality and refinement of melody that are invested in the elegant rhythm of bossa-nova have won the publics of all continents, regardless of age or musical leaning.
Joao Donato has had an impact on several generations of pianists and composers in various countries. Those who've collaborated with him include Carlos Jobim, Stevie Wander, Madonna and the Bee-Gees. His works have also been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Cannonball Adderly, Carlos Santana, Michael Franks, Sting, Ella Fitzgerald, Quince Jones, Ray Charles and even the king of rock-n-roll Elvis Presley. However, none of them could convey the beauty and elegance of Donato's style better than the author himself.
Tiraspol - Pre-Easter exhibit-fair "Spring Motif 2004"
, April 9, 2004
The annual "Spring Motif" exhibit-fair, which is organized by the commerce ministry and the Tirspolsky-Dubossarsky Diocese, is being held in the Pridnestrov Expocenter in Tiraspol.
As was reported to RIA "Novosti" in the organizational committee, 34 local businesses will participate in the exhibition, as well as businesses from Belarussia and the Ukrainian cities of Vinnitsa and Kherson.
Exhibition participants are presenting farm produce, clothing, footwear, electronic and sanitary technology, perfumes, jewelry and church cult articles.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Japan - Ivan Shmelev debuts
, April 9, 2004, Pravda Severa (PS), Vlada Nikolaich
The debut was reported by someone from PS back in February. The young Severodvinite recently returned from an international youth pianist competition in Japan.
Ivan Shmelev's first triumph came in 2001 at a competition in Arkhangel, for which he got a tape recorder as a prize. Afterwards he repeatedly won prestigious awards at different competitions, including internationally. Now they're talking about giving him a presidential stipend. Ivan uses his talent and capacity for work to significantly relieve the financial burden for his mom, Elena Vasilyena, who reared three children after the death of her husband. For example, the youngster paid for his music lessons himself.
However, the trip to Japan took nearly 70,000 rubles. The organizational committee provided compensation for only half the expenses. For Elena Shmelev and his instructor, Lina Barysheva, coming up with such a large sum for Ivan was an impossibility, but friends and acquaintances responded. He was assisted with finances from the administration and machine enterprises of Severodvinsk and the regional cultural committee. As a result, participation of the Severodvinsk boy in the competition became a reality.
And then in March the 14-year-old Ivan Shmelov debuted in the Land of the Rising Sun at the P.I. Chaikovsky competition. Actually, he didn't make the second round. But he was not disappointed, that means there is room for improvement. All the same it was a big honor to compete with students from conservatories and students from specialized schools. And the organizational committee assembled 66 of the best pianists from various countries there. There were no age categories in this ultraprestigious event, so that Ivan was competing on the same level with pianists of the highest grade.
Japan impressed the teenager and his teacher with its cleanliness, hospitality, its near-cult attitude towards music and its serious practitioners, where people consider time on a par with money. With the differences in our tradition and customs, Ivan could have very easily been cause for scandal.
There, each contestant could practice only for three hours a day, so that the instrument would be available for the next person. One of those days Ivan looked in on an empty class and, believing that the grand piano was free and not seeing anyone, he sat down at the instrument and began to play. This is usual for a Russian, but not for a Japanese. Neither the young pianist nor Lina Barysheva comprehended that Ivan was incurring a debt, but there was a charge for each three hour session - for the piano, for the premises, and nobody was allowed to exceed the allotted limits. Besides that, everyone was there under their own conditions. Because of this misunderstanding all the Russian participants were almost deprived of the option to practice. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
But that was just a odd turn in the background of events. The Severodvinite Shmelev still has his best foot forward, and he would like to believe that he is bound to win.
London - Bob Dylan headlines cult festival
, April 8, 2004
The popular American singer and composer, Bob Dylan, headlines the 14th annual Fleadh Festival, which will take place June 20 in London's Finsberry Park. "Fleadh" is one of the oldest of London's musical gatherings and every year it puts on performances of poets and bards, diverse folk musicians, along with appearances by cult rock groups. Besides Dylan, one of the events of the festival will be a stage appearance by the "Counting Crows" group, which is appearing in Great Britain only one day in 2004.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
St. Petersburg - Fr. Michael blessed prodigal parrot
, April 8, 2004, Maiya Peredonova
Not long ago the superior of Spaso-Pargolovsky church in Saint Petersburg, Father Michael, blessed 150,000 chocolate "Petrushka" eggs, which came from the Petersburg "Landrin" factory. A large number of the children's treats, adorned with the Easter symbol (the traditional XB mark, signifying "Christ is Risen" in Russian), were sent to Moscow and Yekaterinburg. Inside each one was a little plastic toy from the cult film "Return of the Prodigal Parrot," (the biblical allusion, to all appearances, is coincidental).
To the questions of believers about whether one could perhaps use a children's treat as an Easter greeting, representatives of the information-publishing department of Yekaterinburg diocese replied that for observing the Easter ritual, any egg or imitation was suitable.
However, the superior of the Kazansky cathedral, Father Pavel, asserted that the hen's "natural product", when specially dyed, could be called Easter eggs. Using imitations was not punishable, but ought not to be considered, given the seriousness of the church proceedings.
At the same time, there is nothing astonishing about chocolate Easter eggs in Europe. They are given and, of course, eaten, the same as hen's eggs. Besides that, there is an active interest in western merchandising for a chocolate rabbit, an Easter Bunny. In America the rabbit with a basket of Easter gifts is apparently more popular than the eggs themselves.
The funniest thing is that the origin of children's treat itself is also associated with Easter. It was during Easter that Italian producers made the first egg from cheap chocolate with a little toy inside. The idea proved so successful that the company rapidly reoriented to production of the oval treats.
However, it's not too remarkable that not all our church-goers do not recognize the chocolate Easter symbol. The traditional Orthodox Easter is much more ascetic than the Catholic or the Protestant. In Russia there is a consistent attitude towards Christ's Resurrection as a joyful feast, but with a faint note of sorrow, and many consider associating this day with chocolate a sacrilege.
Ukraine - Security Service returns church culture
, April 8, 2004
Department employees of the Security Service of the Ukraine (SSU) in Chernovitsky oblast returned 13 icons to the religious community of Saint Dmitrievsky church in the village of Vanchikivets in the Novoselitsky district of Chernovitsky oblast.
The icons date from the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries and have cultural and historical value. They were part of the same haul as from other religious artifacts stolen from various cult institutions of the oblast, and were being prepared as contraband by criminals for export outside of the Ukraine.
Last October, special staff of a regional department of the SSU, along with customs agents, confiscated more than 50 church-related articles from smuggled cargo hidden in the wood near the Ukrainian-Rumanian border. The investigation is continuing.
Yekaterinburg - diocese suspects totalitarian sects making preparations
, April 7, 2004, Pavel Kober
All have the basic suspicion that totalitarians sects in Sverdlovsk oblast are doing scouting operations under the guise of religious activity. As "UralPolit" reported from the press offices of the Yekaterinburg diocese, this was stated by Archbishop of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursk Vikentiy at a meeting with the head of the main department of the RF ministry of justice for Sverdlovsk oblast Mikhail Zatsepin.
"Sect operations are a threat to more than just the spiritual health of society. As has been demonstrated, in Novouralsk, Lesny, Nizhny Tagil and other cities of strategic significance, sect operations are no less than in Yekaterinburg itself," it was reported at the press office.
During the meeting archbishop Vikentiy and Mikhail Zatsepin came to an agreement about coordinating the combined activity of the diocese and the oblast department of the Justice Ministry in the registration of religious denominations which the justice department says exist on the territory of Sverdlovsk oblast.
"It is obvious today that the operations of destructive cults can be stopped in Russia only by cooperation among the forces of state, society and traditional denominations. Besides helping those who have already suffered, preventive measures are needed, mostly through distributing accurate information about the activities of totalitarian cults," the press service noted.
It was noted that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksiy II called up the Ural clergymen to more actively resist the operations of totalitarian sects. Such a mandate was supported in a resolution of the patriarch, and announced at the annual diocesan gathering of the clergy at Yekaterinburg diocese. In general, people have insufficient knowledge about groups that profit from the thirst for religion that people have. There are foreign churches, non-Christian religions, along with various sects, which happen to include the so-called totalitarian cults that are destructive to the psychic health of society and who attract an increasing number of new members into their ranks," noted the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. To alter such an outlook, archbishop of Yekaterinburg and Verkhotursk Vikentiy appealed for more active missionary work. "Sects are in Russia only because we are not living piously and we worry little about the sphere of spiritual enlightenment and the upbringing of our loved ones," said the head of the diocese.
Kiev - reinforced security for upcoming Easter holiday
, April 6, 2004
As report on Tuesday in an interview with the "Interfax-Ukraine" agency, the head of the public relations center of the main administration of the Ukrainian MVD in Kiev, Dmitriy Andreev, to provide public security and order over the Easter holidays, the capital police will be on duty as reinforcements; they will be on duty in places where people assemble for Easter services.
"They will be on duty starting Friday," said D. Andreev. Special attention will be paid to public security.
When asked about the exact numbers of police that would be on special duty, D. Andreev said that such information was confidential.
D. Andreev could not guess how many Kievians would attend services at churches and monasteries, other than to say it would probably be the same as last year.
As was reported last year, more than 10 million people attended Easter services. On Easter night, church services were held at 13,200 cult establishments.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Russia: Customs officials stopped contraband export of Orthodox relics
, April 2, 2004
Russian customs agents stopped the contraband export of Orthodox relics, reported RIA "Novosti" from the press service of the Russian customs office.
"During a customs clearing and inspection of a plane flight bound for Munich, images of saint Nikolai Chudotvorets, Our Lady and a crucifix, said the press service.
Specialists established that the confiscated items were of a religious cult, were of artistic and historical value, and were not subject to export from Russia, it was stated in the customs office.
It was said there that the icon of saint Nikolai (Moscow, 19th century) was set in an old-looking medium and was reported as a collector's items at the state museum and was part of a collection. The crucifix is a specimen of a little cult statue, and the image of Our Lady was manufactured in the 19th century in a region known for its master artists. As reported by the customs press service, the discovery and safeguarding of the Russian church art was part of the cult legacy of the Russian state.
Because of the contraband, the staff of Koltsovsky customs (of the Urals customs department) are initiating a criminal proceeding.