Cultological Culture

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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Buryat national museum 60 years old.
The Ust-Orda national museum of the Buryat Autonomous Republic preserves the history of the Buryat people. The permanent exhibit, "Evolution of a home," shows how the ancestors of the contemporary Buryat lived 25 millennia ago. In light structures plastered with clay and protected by skins on a stone foundation. Here are the same remnants of mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses that were found on this territory. Also here are petroglyphs, cave drawings.
"All the items on display are labeled by period and are particularly vibrant. They are not dead, they are living their lives like everything in this world," says Lyudmila Egorova, director of the Ust-Orda national museum for the Buryat Autonomous Republic.
Some of the museum's treasures were still in everyday use as late as 40 years ago. For example, "kozhemyalki," which women used for dressing sheepskin, when they rolled felt or spun wool.
"People of my age remember how they worked, how difficult this was and how grandmothers used to have to keep an eye on the women to keep them from running away," Lyudmila Egorova narrates.
Here is a bag, called a "kover" in Buryatian, which is nearly two hundred years old. Its color has not faded after all this time. The bag is woven from horse hair and sheep's wool. For nomads the bag is an irreplaceable thing.
"This, you see, is for a semi-nomadic way of life, you throw it on the ground and can sit on it, or sleep on the ground. I remember, even from my own childhood, practically every family had these bags. I tried to find one for many years, but they're no longer in existence."
The museum curios include religious cult objects. When the owner died, a funeral pyre awaited him. He was brought there and everything was readied for completing the rituals.
"The Shamanist attributes were generally small, because the attributes were burned together with the shamans."
But not everyone would touch the objects that remained. It was thought that they did not lose their power after the shaman died. According to the museum keepers, now and then an impossible photograph is made of them: after developing the picture would not emerge.
Svetlana Banko, "Vesti-Irkutsk"
Vesti.Irk.Ru, 20.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109619351825103204

Stone Maiden established in Khakassia.
On September 22 in the village of Saral Orjonikidzevsk, Khakass region, 37 km. from Kopevo station the opening (presentation to the people) of the Stone Maiden is taking place - a monument of the era of Okunevsky culture at the end of the 3rd and beginning of the 2nd millennia B.C. As the "Segodyashnyaya gazeta" newspaper reported, it is worth noting that this is the first case of arranging such a stone on its time-honored, historically stipulated site, in essence, a homecoming. Now many are talking about the return of the museum menhir to its former spot, but for the Tas-Khyz people, it's a new arrival.
"During research at the ancient Chudsky iron-smelting terrace of the Saral river, under the cherry bushes in a pile of dirt and rock, they discovered a stone of huge dimension, which attracted attention, and during clearing it proved to be an ancient menhir," thus the Stone Maiden was found. Similar finds in the last decade have been extremely rare, but the sub-taiga zone of north Khakassia unexpectedly became one of exceptional interest.
The unveiling to the people of the Stone Maiden is taking place September 22 at 1 p.m. Besides the local residents and guests arriving at the celebration of the return of Tas-khys will be representatives of heathen cults, who held a ritual to "dedicate" the ancient stone. Mass media representative had the opportunity to commemorate this event, which was unique by any standard.
Regnum.Ru, 17.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109619349376800487

Israel cooperating with Vatican.
The government if Israel guarantees visa privileges to Catholic foreign citizens who are making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This was announced by Israel's Minister of Interior Affairs Abraham Poraz at a meeting with Vatican state secreteary (main administration) Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
As the Israeli official stated, as heard over Vatican radio, "in some special cases the Holy See will petition for an individual and appear in the role of guarantor." The minister explained that the issue was about pilgrims from countries adjacent to Israel: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
The second problem addressed in the Vatican-Israeli negotiations was the issue about taxing cult institutions. In this regard the minister specified that only the commercial transactions of the Catholic Church would be taxed, such as hotels and souvenir shops, but the churches themselves and religious instruction establishments would be exempt from taxes. Monasteries, in their turn, would have to pay the cost of community services they used.
"The government of Israel makes its goal the provision to all confessions and believers of the just, free access to sacred sites, but arranging security for this is anything but simple," stressed Abraham Poras.
JNews.Co.Il, 17.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109619346884847236

Russians have had time to get used to the existence of sects in this country. But for those families whose children have fallen under the influence of sectarians, the last hope of returning them to a normal life is historian, professor of theology and president of the St. Irenaeus of Lyon Center for Religious Research Alexander Dvorkin. He narrated for a "Rossiya" correspondent how not to become the victim of a totalitarian sect.
- Alexander Leonidovich, I just want to find out a few details of your biography. There is much news about you on the Internet, most authors of which are members of the Scientology sect. For example, that you were married to an American after emigrating from Russia in 1977, or that you worked for Radio "Svoboda" for many years.
- To be more precise, they say that I got married to an American to receive citizenship in the USA. But here I received American citizenship in 1984 during course of naturalization proceedings (I lived in the USA for 15 years as a political emigrant) when thoughts of marriage were the furthest thing from my mind. It's appropriate to say that when I returned to Moscow, my Russian citizenship, of which I had been illegally deprived, was restored. And my wife is Russian, she comes from Chelyabinsk, and I got married with her upon the return home from emigration. I actually did work at Radio "Svoboda" (American broadcast of news in Russian), though only for a brief time. Back in the USA I was basically occupied with study. I graduated New York University with a Bachelor's degree specializing in "Russian literature" and from St. Vladimir's Orthodox spiritual academy with a candidate of theology degree. In 1988 I defended a doctoral dissertation at Fordham University. It was after that I settled into the "Voice of America" radio station, and after 2 and a half years, "Radio Svoboda." There I worked for all of six months, after which the August events began in Moscow, and a made the decision to return to Russia.
- As it was, your education had no connection with sects. What made you decide to get involved with them, then?
- After I got to Moscow, I began work in the Moscow patriarchy. The priest I worked with asked me to deal with sects, which then had just started to gather momentum in our country. I declined, saying that I was historian, a mere theoretician, and I generally aspired to profess and deal with researchers, and about sects I knew almost nothing. But the priest justifiably pointed out that I was the only one who had encountered this problem, since I had lived abroad.
That was in 1992. Before long parents started coming to us, whose children had gone into sects. Their grief was moving. So I began to talk with them and to read literature. In March 1993 I called the first conference on problems then being spread by the Mother-of-God cult ("Bogorodichniy Tsentr"). Now they are called the "Orthodox Church of the Kept Mother of God." At that conference I made use of the term "totalitarian sect" for the first time, meaning an organization under control of one person that deceives people during recruitment, inflicts harm upon its members through consciousness control, ruthlessly exploiting them and regulating all aspects of their lives.
The conference went successfully, and afterwards journalists started coming to me with questions about other sects. To answer them, I delved deeper into the problem and read all kinds of literature. After some time I realized that everything was happening along the same lines, and since this was the case, needed to be dealt with professionally. So, on September 5, 1993 the St. Irenaeus of Lyon Information-consultation center (now the Center for Religious Research) emerged.
- How many lawsuits are you involved in at this time?
- There are less than you would think in this business. There was one huge case when I was brought to court by a number of sects at once (including Scientology, the Krishnas, Munists and the Jehovahs Witnesses) for my first brochure on the sectarian theme, called "10 Questions for importunate strangers." That long case I won. Since then I've participated in two legal proceedings, I helped the defendants: the Jehovahs Witnesses against Chelyabinsk journalists and a sect of neo-Pentecostals against a Novokuznetsk priest. Both proceedings we won. Well, and there were also a number in which I appeared in the capacity of expert witness.
- Your books frequently get complaints, especially "Sectology." They accuse you of deliberate exaggeration and inaccuracies.
- The first edition of "Sectology" was in 1998, then everything in it was republished in more expanded form in 2000 and 2002. The book is constantly being revised, it now includes new material that corrects old mistakes. During the work on such a volume of material (the most recent edition has more than 800 pages of small print) it's impossible to completely steer clear of minor inaccuracies. Specifically, the organizations about which I write are conceal information. I try to avoid inaccuracy and always include a request to communicate with me about errors that are found. But they're in the outlying areas. In general, I answer for all the information in the book. Don't forget what the mission of the sect is -- to say that nothing in the book is correct. I think the main criteria of truth maintained in the book is data that not a single sect would dare bring to court. They know that I am able to support everything with documentation.
- Along those same lines Scientology believes that you exaggerate particularly to turn people away from their teachings.
- I am not exaggerating anything. References abound in my book, and the information I verify several times. In the case of Scientology, there is no need to exaggerate. It's enough to state the obvious to understand how terrible it is. Quite often the sect members themselves, when criticizing me, do not fully understand do not understand what goes on inside their sect. They're just being initiated into a communications system. For instance, I know more about Scientology than a number of its members.
- How do regard criticism of this sort? You're often called a propagandist of the Russian Orthodox Church and part of its aggressive politics in relation to other religions.
- I have a normal regard for criticism. As concerns the ROC, however, I have no relationship to its management. I am just another Orthodox Christian. I'm not involved with the politics of the Church and I do not make any decisions for the Church. This is done by other people. Personally, I don't see anything aggressive about either the policies or the convictions of the Orthodox Church. In my opinion, an inalienable sign of freedom of choice is diversity of information. The more information people have, the freer they are in their choice. My goal is to give people information different from that presented by sects in their recruitment pamphlets, to give them the option of comparison. That is not propaganda, but preventive care. Besides, religious freedom would be meaningless without religious criticism. And if this organization considers itself to be a religion, which I have serious doubt about, then let them participate in an argument with me and with other critics.
For that matter, the overwhelming majority of totalitarian sects are not religions. These are only very rough ideological or commercial organizations. Have you taken a look at how these groups react to criticism? Perhaps something has changed in their approach to people, but over an interval of many years haven't many reports emerged about the appalling and inhumane conditions that reign within them? And compare them to, for instance, the appalling cases of pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church. There, measures were immediately taken. They spoke honestly about the problem, paid compensation to the victims and removed the people who were involved in this scandal, etc.
- How many sects are now on the territory of Russia?
- There are no such statistics. Counting them is very complicated. For example, there is the "Dianetics Center," there is the "Scientology Church," "Narconon," the "Hubbard Humanitarian Center," and a great deal more organizations, all registered completely independently of each other. But in this case they all are only various guises of the sect of Scientology. "Transcendental Meditation" and the "Maharishee University," for example, are not registered as religions, but as social organizations. A good many others are not even registered. If the various cover organizations are not counted though, but only the sects themselves, then there are an array of 60-80 groups that are known throughout Russian, and thousands of regional, city or even district sects.
- Does your Center cooperate with the regions?
- I am constantly underway with lectures, conferences and consultations. In Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Ufa and Tver' we are helped by colleagues and people who feel the same as we. They are the ones that do the work there. We are constantly coordinating work and exchanging information.
- Which sect is the most dangerous?
- The most dangerous sect is the one our loved ones go into. No sect would be less dangerous than the next. If I am visited by a mother whose son has gone into a sect, it would hardly be comforting for her to know that she was on a big list of which sect was bigger or more influential.
- So are there safe sects?
- I think, among totalitarian sects, no. But there are among the classic sects, the Baptists, for example. A respected Christian sect with which our Church is conducting theological dialogue. Originally there was nothing negative or unique about the word "sect." Just a common non-evaluative sociological word.
- And can a totalitarian sect evolve into a classic sect?
- Yes, the development of a sect in general is a very dynamic process. Today, for example, the "Moscow Church of Christ" is in the verge of schism. It's the same as the "International Church of Christ." They used to be among the leaders of those who exerted influence on personality. But a split occurred between the totalitarian and the moderate currents. We'll see what happens next. After all, the majority of totalitarian sect do not last longer than one generation. Nearly 70% of them cease to exist with the death of the leader. For example, it seems to me that such a fate awaits the Munists with the demise of their teacher and "messiah," Mun. In any case, at least for now I don't see a person who could fill his place. I'm speaking seditious thoughts; I'm even a little annoyed, after all I studied them for several years.
- Do people on a spiritual quest get into sects?
- The ones who usually end up there are those who are experiencing a state of stress. Nobody ever goes into a sect themselves. People are always brought in, lured in through concealment of information, through unscrupulous advertising or through outright lies.
- And how about the relatives of those who go into a sect?
- The first thing is don't despair. Most people do not remain in a sect their entire lives. Sooner or later they leave. When this will happen and under what circumstances is another question. Relatives of those who have come into misfortune should think about what they were going through recently, whether they had problems. If the family had problems, then they should do their best to correct them. Generally speaking, help for those who have gotten into a sect is primarily a family matter. There is the opinion that only children from troubled families go into sects. This is incorrect. There's a good chance that people from strong, harmonious families will get out of a sect.
- How should the victims be treated? With discussion and persuasion?
- Not in this case. First off, what a person who has gone into a sect hears will be taken in an awful way. Shall we say he has gone into a community of the chosen who will be saved after the Last Judgment, etc. And anyone who tells him differently is the enemy. They tell him, "Look here! You tell them about us and they will set you against us." The protests of those close to him are taken as confirmation of the sect's correctness. So if the victim cannot be persuaded in the first three days, it's better not to talk about the sect at all. After all, his "honeymoon" with them has just started. It's like puppy love, when a guy falls in love and he's told the girl isn't cut out for him. Is he actually going to listen?
It's better to tell him that if talking about cults only leads to an argument and you like it there, then it's better to close this topic. With victim, one should talk about the good. About the happy moments in the life of the family, for instance. And you will see that the "sectarian pseudo-personality," as psychologists call it (or what lay people call the "zombie") quickly falls down to second place and the original personality of your loved one will peek through it, the one you know and love. One should still collect information about the sect, but not impose upon its victims. It can simply be left on the table. Sooner or later, when nobody's home, he will read it. It's useful to get acquainted with people close to this sect and with its former members. They'll share experiences with you. The home should remain affectionate, loving and very tolerant. Nothing can control consciousness 100 percent. Sooner or later a person will have doubts. Your task is to not let this moment slip by, but to suggest a meeting with specialists.
- What kind of specialists?
- One may call us to find out who can help. A specialist engages in a conversation about what took place with the victim in the sect. Unfortunately, an ordinary psychologist may not have the required information. We recommend those who do.
- When it is time to start being concerned about the victim himself?
- At the recruitment stage, when they say, "Let yourself be handled." Because after that it may be too late. Or if they promise everything, right now - this is also cause for concern. In English, they have a saying, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." If they put the squeeze on you and demand you make a decision immediately, that is also a symptom. In general, it's like an aggressive marketing trick, "Hurry! Only a few seats left." They don't give you time to consider. Well, and if after three sentences a person acts like your best friend, this, of course, is reason to reflect upon the sincerity of his intentions.
- Which areas are most susceptible to harm from sects?
- This, of course, depends in each person and individual, but I would sort the damage from totalitarian sects into four categories. This would be damage on the levels of individual, family, society and state. While each of them are awful, all are about money - this is a matter of profit. It's worse when people lose their freedom, when they dedicate their lives to an organization about which they know little. Well then, as a believer, I cannot tell about the danger to the spirit, which can be worse than the danger to physical health. Many sects distort the spiritual life a person so much that he finds himself in a spiritual deadlock that leads him to the most frightful acts.
- Do sectarians attract people by using special methods?
- There is a whole series of psychological methods that recruiters learn. But few of them have the big picture. Each one of them has their little function, but the cumulative effect is a strong influence on personality. One problem is attracting people, another is finding their weak spot, the third is enticing them into sect territory. Somebody else's territory, generally speaking is a strong technique. We all are familiar with the situation where we are in someone else's company and do our best not to be singled out, not to dampen the enthusiasm of those around us so that no one will think poorly of us. They do not let you alone, you're constantly in the company of a "friend" from the sect who is gentle the whole time, but unremittingly exerts pressure on you, steering your behavior. And after a change of behavior comes a change of mind - this is a psychological law.
- Have sects always existed?
- Yes, but totalitarian sects are a new phenomenon. Their predecessors in the 19th century were the Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses. But totalitarian sects did not emerge as a mass phenomenon until after the war, in the 1950s and '60s. There were a large combinations of facts that contributed to this upsurge. The diversity of occult teachings in the sphere of academics, continuous division of post-Protestant sects, exotic popular beliefs distributed by psychoanalysts, the cultural revolution and the narcotic broadening of the mind in the 1960s. These ranks also included mass Hollywood productions that brought continents closer together, but on the most primitive grassroots level. For instance, Shaolin monastery became well-known thanks to the movies. Of course it's impossible to forget the attempts of totalitarian states to influence personality.
- You've been involved with sects for nearly 12 years, do you like your work?
* See, I think of this as doing work for the church. Naturally I'm glad if I see some results. But on the whole it's comparable to cleaning septic tanks. It's possible that a septic tank cleaner likes his work. It's nice, of course, once he has everything cleaned up. After all, somebody need to do this, and now I know that I will be doing this as long as I live.
RGZ.Ru, 16.9.04, Maria Dmitrieva
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109619341386089554

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Nicest karate hall in Europe.
In Moscow, on September 13, 2004, the Federation of Kyukushin-kan Karate-do (Russia) opened the Central Doje (auditorium), one of the largest halls in the world for the practice of karate in the Kyokushin style. The project came about due to the Federation, support from the childrens and youth athletic school, and the popularization and keeping of the Kyokushin tradition in Russia.
Aleksandr Nestrenko is one of the few holders of the 6th dan in Russia. Back when Masutatsu Oyami, founder and legend of Kyokushin karate, was still alive, he assigned Nesterenko to be the instructor of the Kyokushin karate school in the European part of Russia. He also is the only person in Russia to conduct 50 consecutive fights with holders of black belts in karate. Ten years ago he opened his school in Moscow, and for that event he arranged the Federation's open central hall.
"The Central Doje for the practice of karate is the first step in the work of attracting young Muscovites to practice oriental one-on-one combat and show their enthusiasm for the Japanese culture," said Mikhail Viktorovich Slipenchuk, president of the Kyokushin-kan Karate-do Federation of Russia on the occasion of the Doje opening. "We are certain that in the matter of developing a children's and youth sports system of martial arts with many centuries of tradition and a cult of great warriors and strict discipline will be the best basis. The inculcation of respect for instructor, industriousness, patience and perseverance in attaining goal are the best that the Path of Karate can give."
Appearing at the opening ceremony were not only Nesterenko's students, but also children who had just started their path in karate. Already practicing under the guidance of experienced instructors are a hundred Muscovites and people who want to familiarize themselves better with this martial style and with Japanese culture. The renovated practice hall is consistent with the Japanese style and was done in a design that is unique for hand-to-hand combat in Russia. The atmosphere of Japanese mentality imbedded in the style is supposed to embue those practicing the oriental martial art with enthusiasm.
"Beginning the practice of karate does not take too much: a hall, a kimono and a sufficient desire to go the path of karate. We apply its goal to divert children from the negative influence of the streets. Cultivating interest in the eastern culture and in martial hand-to-hand combat aids the fight against child neglect. The practice of karate calls upon teenagers to strengthen discipline and their self-awareness. For me this is a very big day. When I first began to train in Moscow, the hall was not heated and the temperature in winter was about the same as it was on the street, but the warmth of our hearts melted the ice and here we are, celebrating the birth of a new training complex," noted Nesterenko during his words of welcome to visitors at the event.
The guests of honor included prominent figures of sports and government: Sergei Nikolaevich Ryabukhin (RF auditor, president of the Association of Kyokushin Karate of Russia), Aleksei Borisovich Shturmin (one of the founders of domestic karate-do, prominent trainer of the Russian Federation) and Tsklauri Sergei Viktorovich (prominent master of the sport of sambo fighting, champion and first-prize winner of all karate competitions, 3rd dan).
The hall on Kashirsky highway, building 39, is the first step. President of the Federation Kyokushin-kan Karate-Do of Russia Mikhail Slipenchuk plans on opening two similar site in Luzhniki very soon. As a reminder, on the Federation's initiative, the first world championship in this sport form is not being held in Japan, but in the Moscow Luzhniki Olympic complex in September 2005.
Sport.RBC.Ru, 15.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559674235080989

Russian Buddhists celebrate.
Today it's been 240 years since Tsaress Yekaterina II established the post of head Buddhist of eastern Siberia and the Baikal region, reported Interfax.
The first Khambo-lama was Damba-Darzha Zayaev in 1764, a prominent Buddhist figure who obtained an education in Tibet. It was from there, was well as Mongolia that Buddhism came to the territory of present-day Russia as the 16th century turned into the 17th. In 1741 by decree of Tsaress Elizabeth Petrovna, Buddhism in Buryatia was officially acknowledged with the status of one of the state religions.
By the end of the 19th century, Buddhism in Buryatia had itself become an extensively developed system. More than 40 datsan were in operation, in which there were more than 10,000 monks-lamas. Actually the Buddhist datsans were a kind of university that taught the Tibetan and Mongolian languages, Sanskrit, Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan-Mongolian medicine, astrology; they developed book-printing, icon-painting and cult architecture.
Buddhism became a solid part of the lives of the Buryatian folk throughout the region. With the spread of literacy and writing, scientific knowledge, literature and art, Buddhism became an important factor in the formation of morality, popular tradition and customs.
In 1908 they had already started construction of a Buddhist temple (the first one in Europe) in St. Petersburg, and in 1913 the first service was held there to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.
During the Soviet era the traditional Buddhist sangha suffered the same fate as all the rest of the religious organizations in the country. In 1938 all Buddhist schools and monasteries were closed, the majority of temples were demolished, and many valuable statues, equipment and manuscripts were also destroyed. Some of them were put in museum reserves, but many spiritual and material valuables were irretrievably lost.
A new era in the history of Buddhism in Russia started in 1990.
D-Pils.Lv, 13.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559671690153205

Ternopol celebrates Gothic festival.
The "Necropolis: Black Lyre" international Gothic festival begins 11 September in the Zbarazhsky Castle in Ternopol province. This was reported by one of the event organizers, the president of the "Gammadion" Gothic club, Roman Nagulyak.
During the festival in the castle there will be concerts by Gothic groups, appearances by minstrels, knightly jousts, alchemy experiments, video displays, medieval dances and theatrical performances.
The peak of the festival is supposed to be a symbolic witchburning. Headlining the music program are the cult Polish group "Fading Colors" and the Gothic legend of Ukraine, "Komu vniz."
The organizers count on nearly 3,000 visitors from the Ukraine and eastern Europe for the two-day "Necropolis" festival. Tickets are 15 grivna the first day and 35 the second, both days for 40.
MigNews.Com.Ua, 11.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559668720887456

CIS Interreligious council approves physical eradication of terrorists.
The CIS Interreligious Council came out in favor of the physical eradication of terrorists and their accomplices, and regarded that this did not contradict the laws of the traditional religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Buddhism.
"The eradication of terrorists and their accomplices, who used the name of Islam to cover up their actions, not only could not damage Christian-Muslim cooperation, but, conversely, reinforces it, in so far as such people, if they may be called this, undermine Islam through their actions," the secretary-coordinator of the CIS Interreligious Council Roman Silantev told the Interfax agency the day before.
As to possible negotiations with terrorists that a representative of the US State Department has been talking about these days, an interlocutor of the agency speculated that "when man can conclude a peace treaty with cancer cells and the AIDS virus, then one can try to come to an agreement with terrorists."
P. Silantev also recalled that in the Middle Ages there existed a terrorist sect of assassins who members murdered Christians as well as Muslims, and also the total eradication of their adherents by the combined forces of Europeans, Arabs and Tatar-Mongols was effective in the cardinal resolution of this problem. He also said that the "People and religion" interreligious conference had finish in Milan a few days before, the concluding document of which said, in part, "Those who use the sacred name of the Lord to bless an unjust war or terrorism are cursing the matter for which they are fighting, and are alienating themselves from the Most High."
NewsRu.Com, 10.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559666344484719

Sectarians sue for half million.
In Novgorod Velikiy sectarians are trying to sue a newspaper for half million rubles. There is a case in process in the Novgorod city court about the defense of business reputation, which was filed against the "Novgorod" newspaper by the "Noviy Akropol" religious organization.
The reason for the suit was the publication in January 2004 by the newspaper of an article about the destructive activity of the "Noviy Akropol" sect. Then there were two reader responses on the pages of the newspaper. After the publication educational establishments started refusing to lease halls to "Noviy Akropol." The petitioner asked the court to make the respondent refute the distributed information and to pay 500,000 rubles compensation for moral injury.
Iamik.Ru, 7.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559663812890857

Krishna’s picketed in Saratov.
On 4 September a mass picket was successfully carried out on the Krishnas, reported the Saratov diocese press service. Members of the "Saratov Society of Krishna Consciousness" registered their event, "Spiritual revival of the planet," as a charitable action. The action included the chanting of mantras, ritual dances with music, along with the distribution of leaflets that told about the goals of the action (besides the stated goals, were other noble goals that would please many strange to religion, such as: uniting humanity, "restoring its lost connection with God," and the like).
The only thing awry was that representatives of the "Saratov Society of Krishna Consciousness" thought that nothing depended on a person's religious membership, on his faith in one God, or on the morality established in one or another religion. Repeating the ecumenical slogan "all religions are alike in that they are all a path that leads to one God," the Krishnas do not recognize a difference in whom one prays to - Jesus Christ, Allah or Krishna, one of the manifestations of which is Shiva, the destroyer, and another, Yamaraja, the god of death. The leaflet closed with a detailed explanation of the meaning of the basic mantra of the Krishnas, "Hare Krishna," and a promise boon by repeating this "prayer."
However, behind the beautiful words and appeals for peace, love and harmony the ideology of Krishnaism was carefully concealed. In words blaming war, discord and conflict, the Krishnas concealed that in the books they hold sacred, murder is by no means forbidden to Krishnas: "Any person acting in Krishna consciousness ... even killing, is not committing murder, as he is not affected by the consequences of such action."
Many similar examples can be quoted. The "International Society of Krishna Consciousness" is classified as a destructive religious organization (totalitarian sect) by many expert authorities. So activities from the Holy Prince Aleksander Nevskiy Patriotic Society and staff of the Department of religious education and catechization of the Saratov diocese have long been letting their countrymen know about the dangers of sectarian doctrine. A picket was conducted during which leaflets were passed out that told about the destructive activity of the Krishnas. The picketers explained their position to any who were interested and gave statements to the press.
Orthodoxy.Ru, 7.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559661273695099

Military secret on the Mongolian Steppes.
16 September is the 65th anniversary of the end of military operations on Khalkhin-Gol.
They told me about the Irkutsk-to-Khalkhin-Gol expedition. About what preparations were made, who took part in it, how a mighty army of trucks had taken off from the Irkutsk Eternal Flame. Besides that, about the expedition being successfully completed. What was left for the television viewers was a personal account of how it had been organized. What did the expedition participants see? What did they find out? What did they learn? Finally, what did they feel upon finding themselves on the banks, ravaged by war, of a river that disappeared into the boundless Mongolian Steppes?
Dust to dust.
Cameraman Aleksei Savin and journalist Natalya Volina (IGTRK) tell the story:
- By the time we crossed the Mongolian border our team had received the essential reinforcements. In Kyakht the participants of the Irkutsk-to-Khalkhin-Gol run were supplemented by a delegation from Ulan-Ude. That delegation included quite a few descendants of the Khalkhin-Gol soldiers and officers. Leonid Banov, for example, was born 2 months after the death of his father, Ermolai Banov, in Mongolia. Since he was a child, Leonid Ermolayevich knew about his father dying at Khalkhin-Gol and that he had not had a funeral there. None of the hero's relatives had seen his grave. So as soon as Banov junior heard about the preparations for the trip, he did everything he could to be included. He hoped to find his father's grave.
-- Did he find it?
-- No. That would have simply been a miracle! There is a vast amount of land. Doing a complete search would have taken more than a month, or even a year. They found the grave of a Red Army man, but with no name, just a plate with a star. No last name, no first name. Banov set some dirt near it... maybe the remains of his father are somewhere near there.
Seven memorials per kilometer of road.
The main and most difficult part of the expedition began from the city of Sumber. After several kilometers the road ended and a "direction" began. From time to time obelisks and memorials from the war at Khalkhin-Gol appeared as beacons.
-- On 10 kilometers of the path we counted 70 memorials! - Aleksei and Natalya were not yet able to say this number calmly. - Can you imagine? Seventy! And us, we only looked at one that was dedicated to Khalkhin-Gol. Not far from Kyakht. The Mongols reverently - no kidding - reverently respect the memory of those days! In Undurkhan the local trackers found the remains of two heroes of the Soviet Union. Now the museum of Zhukov is there. By the way, in Mongolia there is a real cult of Marshall Zhukov, they put him in the same category as Choybalsan. Everyone there knows all sorts of things about Zhukov and about Khalkhin-Gol.
There where the battle took place nothing had been changed. Rusting on the boundless steppes were the remains of tanks and automobiles, with fragments and shells scattered everywhere. The wounds of war did not heal easily in the bleak nature of the Mongolian steppes. The whole entrenchment was still there, with dugouts and tank turrets.
-- It's awful to imagine what happened there, the journalists acknowledged. There was simply not a living spot on the ground: everything was riddled and twisted by missiles and bullets or torn up in craters.
The old cameraman, Aleksei Savin was a pilot who took part in that battle. Aleksei admitted that when they left to photograph a large-scale map and went into the country away from any groups he felt like a bug being chased through a web.
-- I was in a huge crater, obviously made from an aviation bomb. I thought that perhaps it had come from this old man...
Natalya Volina got a similar feeling:
-- I have to do "stand-ups" (what television people call the work of a journalist on screen), I go before the camera and my thoughts get muddled and I'm not able to collect myself and say anything sensible. The situation lies heavily upon me, some kind of feeling that can't be explained. Scorched earth around, and although it was so many years ago, it looks like it still quite recent that hundreds of people were blown up. It is frightening.
There will be a movie!
The expedition at Khalkhin-Gol was organized by the youth politics committee of the Irkutsk regional administration. It was thanks to the organizers, sponsors, diplomats and many other people who are rather interested in native history that participants of the excursion were successful in accomplishing the somber task of paying tribute to the memory of the war dead of Russia. But the expedition will still find great resonance when a movie about Khalkhin-Gol is made.
The IGTRK telejournalists shot the most unique video footage. Something that has not been seen by hardly any of our countrymen is on cassette. It's natural to presume that the best of what was shot will eventually be put into the form of a documentary movie or a good quality television broadcast. When will this happen?
-- We joined in this with the idea that we would make a regular movie, Natalya explained. We would be ready to start work now, but there's a snag in financing. This issue needs to be resolved before the movie can continue in earnest. We'll do our best to make our Mongolian sensation and experience comprehensible to the audience.
A little war stopped quickly.
The war that broke out in 1939 at Khalkhin-Gol left a remarkable imprint in domestic history. Today one can say with certainty: if Khalkhin-Gol had not happened and the Red Army had not routed the Japanese, it's impossible to say how that would have affected the outcome of World War II. Hard put at Khalkhin-Gol, the Japanese cooled their Samurai fervor, lost assurances of victory and stayed at Tsushima and Mukden.
They did not risk starting military operations against the Soviet Union in either 1941 or 1942, when the situation on the western front had become critical. The more so towards 1945, when the downfall of Fascist Germany became imminent. The Japanese emperor learned the Mongolian lesson so well that in 1945, when Soviet forces advanced against the Kwangtung Army, the divine mikado covered his face with his hands and said it was the end.
Real interest in television movies and broadcasts has vanished over the past ten years. The anniversary of the grandiose historical event has approached inconspicuously. "Out of sight, out of mind," the Americans cynically joke. That means it needs to be seen. To be remembered, narrated and shown. A movie we would like to believe that will soon be seen on our screens will not only narrate a battle in Khalkhin-Gol, but remind all of us that we are direct descendants of heroes.
BGTRK, 11.9.04, Andrei Davydov
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559658800975926

World Nomad exhibit at State Museum of the East.
Today the State Museum of the East invites all to an exhibit by the name of "World Nomad." This is a new encounter with the creation of renowned Buryatian sculptor and artist Dashi Namdakov.
More than a hundred of his sculptural and graphic works, made over a period of years, are on display in the exhibit. Many of them evoke motifs and topics of the art of tribes who have long lived on the territory of Buryatia. Historical finds by scholars of the Eurasian steppes on display at the exhibit also give testimony to this. These include clothing and weapons, shamanist cult articles, pictures of horses, oxen, deer and other animals.
Thus the exhibit gives a presentation about the various sides of life of ancient tribes as a contemporary master would see it. On display in the museum halls for the first time are jeweled ornaments made by Dashi Namdakov from precious metals, diamonds, rubies and other precious stones. Today, the opening day, visitors to the museum can expect one more surprise: among those present will be Buryatian songstress Badma-Khanda, whose performance will include ancient national hymns.
BGTRK, 4.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559655874008812

Witnesses testify against Russia.
The European court for Human Rights is examining an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
The echo of many years of struggle between the Jehovah's Witnesses and the management of a number of Russian cities, who consider the Jehovist communities to be totalitarian sects, has reached as far as Strasbourg. Yesterday in the European Court for Human Rights the first review took place of an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses, who are trying to fight for their right to exist in Russia. The outcome of the review will be a decision about the acceptability of this case for the Strasbourg court. The complaint against Russia was brought by 103 Witnesses from the city of Chelyabinsk, who were dissatisfied that their church service, which was being conducted in the Chelyabinsk Union Technical School (UTS) five years ago, was disrupted by government officials.
The dispersal of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Chelyabinsk was one of the first displays of intolerance toward this religious organization. After this came a serious onslaught in a number of regions by state officials and Orthodox activists with rallies, press articles and bureaucratic leverage. In Veliki Novgorod, for example, all the Christian denominations were mobilized in the fight with the Jehovah's Witnesses, in Stavropol it was the Cossacks. Then Moscow took it a step further into "legislature mode." There the Jehovist community was simply liquidated as a legal person after 3 years of litigation. And that is why the adherents of Jehovah all over Russia are today awaiting the decision from Strasbourg on Chelyabinsk.
The assembly hall of the union tech school in Chelyabinsk was leased to the Witnesses in an agreement signed 6 February 1999. On Sunday, 16 April 2000, the Witnesses were conducting services on these premises, accompanied by hand-signing for deaf-and-dumb, at which nearly 150 people were attending. At the high point of the event, Yekaterina Gorina, who was then the president of the commission for human rights of the Chelyabinsk governor's office, entered the hall with police officers and demanded that the meeting be stopped immediately. In his appeal in Strasbourg, the leader of the southern Ural Jehovists, Konstantin Kuznetsov, claims that he was so frightened by this invasion that he thought it would be better to submit. The more so that literally on the next day the Witnesses got information about canceling the lease contract with the UTS "in connection with the violations school administrators had assumed in signing it" -- the school did not have the right to cancel a contract with a religious organization.
Yielding to the police, the Witnesses then appealed to the state prosecutor with a demand for an investigation. They also went to the Chelyabinsk regional court. The Jehovists hoped for support from former Russian ombudsman Oleg Mironov, who had immediately condemned the action by Yekaterina Gorina. But the court deemed that they had not managed to show a connection between the appearance of the government official and the untimely conclusion of their services. By the way, in 2000 Mrs. Gorina went up for election as mayor of Chelyabinsk and tried to win votes of city residents by promising to fight "American sects," but without any special success.
But the Jehovists themselves, upon losing in the Russian court, appealed to the European court and appealed against the actions of a person in whose responsibility it was to render aid to residents of Chelyabinsk in a formal appeal in the Strasbourg court. The Jehovists assert that they were not allowed to conduct religious assembly because of illegal interference from government and they were victims of discrimination for religious reasons. In their appeal they indicated a number of their human rights and basic freedoms had been violated: the right to just judicial hearings (art. 6), right to respect of private life (art. 8), freedom to express opinion (art. 10), right to freedom of assembly (art. 11) and the ban on discrimination (art. 14).
If the European court recognizes this complaint as acceptable for examination, then this will be the practical equivalent of a victory for the Jehovists -- the majority of those kind of applications are satisfactorily met. Then the present storm of "Witness evidence" will descend on Russia. The Moscow community of Jehovah's Witnesses has already filed a complaint in Strasbourg.
By and large the Jehovah's Witnessed have accumulated a great amount of experience with the court system. They are not used to being sued by governments of many countries. For example, in 1996 the European court decided that the Greek authorities violated art. 9 of the convention with regard to the Jehovah's Witnesses, also by not letting them use the premises they had leased.
Vremya.Ru, 10.9.04, Yuri Kolesov
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559651835864887

Terror-attack concert canceled.
A "Terror-attack concert" by the "NATO singers," the latest project of notorious producer of "Tatu," Ivan Shapalov, which was planned for 11 September in the hall of columns in the Unions Building, has been canceled. This was told to "Interfax" on Thursday by Unions Building general director Alexander Bulgakov.
According to Bulgakov, the decision to cancel the concert was made jointly with the organizers. On Thursday "Izvestiya" newspaper cited a press release on the concert that said "the presentation would be put on as a terror-attack concert - a musical terrorist operation that included some close interaction with the audience."
It was expected that the singers, dressed in black military garb and wrapped in scarves, would perform the songs with eastern languages in the background reporting the news from the Near East and the screen would periodically flash the words, "Al Qaida," "Iraq" and "oil." Invitations to the concert were to be issued in the form of airline tickets.
The staff of the RF Mass Communication and Culture Ministry had earlier expressed misgivings about conducting the "NATO singers" concert on September 11 in Moscow in the Hall of Columns of the Unions Building.
"The upcoming concert is absolutely politically incorrect in form," said Alexei Krymin, lead technician of the department of international relations of the RF Mass Communication and Culture Ministry, noting this was a personal opinion. He reported that he had already given his point of view in an unofficial communication to a representative for the producer of the "Tatu" group.
As Krymin noted, "the lyrics to the songs , which were supposed to be performed in Moscow on the 3rd anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, were absolutely neutral and promoted pro-Russian Islamic culture." Unacceptable, in the opinion of the mediating agency, was the video sequence and external layout of the concert. At the present time it is extremely cynical and inappropriate to present such a video series," Krymin believes.
Alexei Krymin was confident that "the organizers of the concert would submit a proper plan that responded to our unofficial communication in a way that stressed it was not the text or the music that was categorically unacceptable, but the external form of the concert.
NewsRu.Com, 9.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109559646676729310

Saturday, September 11, 2004

US Ambassador comes to Novosibirsk for Pervomaisky businessman.
US ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbo will be paying an official visit to Novosibirsk on the 9th and 10th of September. The stated reasons of the visit are: to get acquainted with the Siberia region, the opening in Novosibirsk of the science center under the American "Harmony" foundation office, and a program for open access to the Internet on Russian soil. Along with that, according to IA Regnum's information, one of the top items for the diplomat's visit will be familiarization with investment projects being advanced in Siberia by the well-known American restauranteur Eric Shogren. An investigation being conducted by the Department of Revenue of the criminal investigative police into the company offices of the American businessman on the eve of the visit created much publicity. According to information obtained by IA Regnum, the revenue agents' interest in Shogren was aroused not as much by a tendency toward "optimizing the tax plan," which many businesses in Russia are involved with, so much as by the proximity of the American to unlawful capital. And this gives the Ambassador's visit to Siberia special meaning.
As the "Kontinent Sibir" newspaper reported in issue no. 31 of 27 August 2004 in "Sly American Trick" (see below), at the end of August, the GUVD in Novosibirsk province carried out a search of the New York Pizza (NYP) offices. The amount of the company's tax revenue in dispute is not known, writes the paper, but it is known that OBEP "is involved with tax crimes, with the amount in question in excess of 500,000 rubles." "Kontinent Sibir" also cited the the manager of UMNS for Novosibirsk province, Vladimir Kamyshan, as saying that the tax agency was showing an interest in "certain businesses that minimize taxes by dividing it into many little parts and transferring them to a simple system of taxation which itself basically conceals tax money."
Evgeniy Golovkov, a representative of NYP, verified for a correspondent of "Kontinent Sibir" that "the enterprise has various legal forms." In the newspaper's opinion, the registration of certain NYP enterprises as Sole Proprietors (SPs) gives their owner a serious tax advantages. Sole Proprietors pay 13% of their income, while corporate entities pay 24%. Besides that, combining SPs and corporate entities, including the use of simplified tax calculations, allows various schemes to spring up which, besides the optimization of financial flow, also gives the possibility of a decreased tax base," the weekly publication cited the words of one of the experts.
At the same time, as IA Regnum has found out from one of the food chain's employees, the company's internal relations serves not as much the optimization of the tax scheme as it does to remove the available money obtained from production operations from the view of the revenue agency. At the present time the revenue agency is auditing Shogren's business for any signs of crime in the area of economic activity, obviously it is trying to give the US citizen the idea that doing business more transparently for Russian revenue agents is necessary.
Eric Shogren, the descendant of a Jewish emigrant from Odessa, arrived in Novosibirsk from America in the mid 1990s. He was persuaded to come over by his wife, a native of Novosibirsk who went to the USA to study. After Eric spent a little time in Novosibirsk he managed to build a large restaurant chain literally out of nothing. His take-off was based in large part on his connections to representatives of the political sphere in the USA whose guarantees allowed him to obtain start-up capital in America. Shogren's own brother, Brett, had been on staff of an apparatus of Congress for many years and was involved in issues of international relations and security. It was this connection that allowed Eric to get access to US budgetary means that had been earmarked for the "Project Aid Siberia" humanitarian fund.
Besides that, according to one version, it was Brett Shogren who got his brother acquainted with the coordinator of the humanitarian program for the US Department of Agriculture, Faith Fisher, who later on led the operations of the foundation in Siberia. That was the project for which the humanitarian foundation obtained money from the US Department of Agriculture. During this the money from the American budget went to the personal account of Eric Shogren in the "Sibekobank" bank, and then, before it was spent on humanitarian aid, was diverted and made available to the account of an American company, "Russkie Biznes-resursy." At the head of this company was another one of Eric's brothers, Bradley Shogren. After yielding a profit, the money was directed, besides to the purchase of humanitarian lentils, to the building of pizzerias in Novosibirsk.
The American's connection to official representatives in the USA was reinforced after Shogren participated in the welcoming to Siberia of American "First Lady" Hillary Clinton in November 1997. Then Eric directly participated in working out the program for Mrs. Clinton's stay, as well as actively participating in it. And in 2001 during an official visit to Novosibirsk by US Ambassador to Russia James Collins, Eric also appeared in the welcoming party. To this day Novosibirsk remembers how the ambassador rather shocked his retinue in the night life of the noisy, not at all diplomatic, "New York Times" bar.
The backing of the American embassy to secure the funds for "Project Aid Siberia" as a free benevolent operation turned into a source of income for the Shogren family - it supplied vegetable oil and lentils for the huge territory of Siberia - from Norilsk to the villages of the Altai Mountains, from the student hostel of Novosibirsk City Academy to a Krasnoyarsk children's home, the businessman increased his status with the help of US State Department funds. Before long, however, the foundation found itself involved in a huge scandal, related to its functionary being a part of the notorious American destructive cult, "The Family," which propagates ritual child prostitution and sexual punishment of children by their parents. The manager of the foundation, Eric Shogren's business partner, Faith Fisher, was also the daughter of the founder of this cult, which is banned in Europe, as are its activists. Its ideological spirit was carried on by Fisher, who shocked city academy students with her propensity for alcohol, drugs and casual sexual relationships. Nevertheless her partner quickly found himself in hot water due to broad publicity of her marginal behavior, and Shogren quickly left Novosibirsk. The reason for Fisher's speedy departure to Cuba was the rumor spread by Eric's close friends that he was looking for, no more and no less, people to do her physical reprisals. Nevertheless, the cult mess was only one item on the list of messes for Eric and his partners. For example, the creator of "stylized" snack bars (the Angar, Piplz, Depo, Western), the "Restorator" company, was also at odds with Shogren, and now Novosibirsk has two chains of "New York Pizza" with the same menu - "Russian" and "American." Before long a scandal broke concerning the prestigious "Klassika" restaurant. Shogren had been invited to take part in this project as a partner, but very quickly began to talk about it as if it were his own property. The result was not slow in coming: he was removed by more powerful partners in the business.
The scandalous dismissal of the American's employees and partners from the "New York Pizza" company also became public knowledge - not one Sole Proprietor left the business without a problem related to threats of physical reprisal, coerced signatures on long documents, and visits to the disgraced partners by tough guys.
A serious stage of development in Eric Shogren's business began to unfold when the "Triks" company, which he owned with partners, joined the "New York Pizza" group, and leased the "NYP" trade mark and technology. According to the results of an independent investigation, at this time a relationship was also formed between Shogren and representatives of a criminal structure. "Triks" manager, Vladimir K., who decided to part with the shady business group, happened to have some dealings with crime. In January 2003, at the high point of the "Triks" dispute with the American, right on the threshold of the door to the manager's house on Tereshkovoi Street, an attempt was made on his life. An unknown person stabbed the manager multiple times in the areas of his neck and stomach. The manager's life was saved only through his presence of mind: he resisted the attack and called for help which, fortunately, arrived promptly. It's possible in connection with this that the American side of the conflict was not satisfied with the results of the effect of the violent action; several days later in the "Ulybka" cafe, which is owned by "Triks" in the student hostel, employees of one of the private security forms burst in wearing masks and military uniforms and removed the Russian manager's property. The criminal case initiated by the ROVD region in this episode in still open.
But before long Eric Shogren appeared in the capacity of partner in the well-known Novosibirsk "NVN-KKK Mayakovskiy" recreation center. As is known, the renowned night club was founded in the middle 1990s as a legal business, but under criminal authority of Vladimir Uporov from the Pervomaiski district of Novosibirsk, who did not live to see his creation in operation. At the end of the 1990s "Mayakovskiy" changed into a large recreation complex, including the first movie theater in the capital of Siberia to have Dolby sound, along with a casino, and a very stylish night club at the time, the "NVN."
After some time, the "Mayakoviskiy" went into decline and began to accumulate debt, the movie theater was no longer unique, the club acquired a criminal reputation and the casino closed altogether. Then Uporov's "heir," also the founder of "Sibir-show, Inc." made an agreement with one of the influential government officials of regional administration about a long-term lease for the "Mayakovskiy" and to bring a new investor -- Eric Shogren.
It's curious that during this time, the son of the government official, thanks to Shogren's connections with the embassy, managed to obtain a "green card" for a stay in America, same as many members of the official's family. Notwithstanding the well-known episode of Josef Kobzon and Paul Borodny, who had difficulty in obtaining even a tourist visa in America, in April 2004, on the recommendation of ministry council member of the US embassy Mary Worlik, Ambassador Alexander Vershbo rendered assistance in arranging exit papers for the representative of the "Sibir Show" company.
In 2003, Eric Shogren became a participant in the "Mayakovskiy" project and, with the former owners, paid NVN's debts and started its complete renovation. Now Eric is trying to attract loose capital and people from America to Siberia. So a complete explanation comes to light for the desire of Alexander Vershbo to make the personal acquaintance of Eric Shogren and to see the site of his business for which the American embassy will give its guarantee to investors from the USA.
Regnum.Ru, 7.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489563856401689

Sly American Trick. (see also US Ambassador comes to Novosibirsk for Pervomaisky businessman.)
A method spread in business and public catering to conceal taxes by registering a business in Sole Proprietor (SP) form became dangerous in Novosibirsk. Last week the OBEP conducted a search of the largest restaurant company in the region, New York Pizza (NYP). In the not too distant future, as "KS" has learned, similar visits will be paid upon other restaurants and retailers.
The makeup of New York Pizza group, which was founded in 1996, includes 8 New York Pizza pizzarias, 5 New York Coffee shops, 3 culinary "Kuzina," the New York Times bar, the New York Diner, the Mayakovsky KKK and the "NVN" night club. The "non-food" project the president of the group, Eric Shogren, an American citizen, is involved in, is furniture production. The turnover and earnings have not been divulged.
Last week agents of the OBEP UVD for Novosibirsk province conducted an unannounced audit of NYP operations, and a search was done on the company's central offices. The GUVD press office was not able to give the details of this operation, but according to law, the OBEP is involved with tax crimes, with the amount of damages exceeding 500,000 rubles.
UMNS director for Novosibirsk region Vladimir Kamyshan verified for "KS" that revenue agencies showed an interest in "some enterprises, who minimuze taxes, which divided up into smaller with transferring them to simplified system of tax payments with basic reduction of tax payments." Mr. Kamyshan declined to name a specific business or a sum of a claim.
NYP representative Evgeniy Golovkov corroborated the fact of of the audit for "NS." He showed surpise at NYP interest in his bookkeeper. "The businesses in our group have various legal forms. However, this is tied not to the amount of tax collection, but to simplify the plan of their payment: decreasing paperwork, maintain the optimum number of employees and so forth," says Evgeniy Golovkov.
As the head of the office of the "Brokerkreditservice" tax consulting company, Sergei Aldokhin, explained to a "KS" correspondent, registering as an SP (sole proprietorship) first gives a business a serious tax advantage. "Sole proprietors pay 13% of their income, while legal corporations pay 24%," says Aldozhin. "Besides that, the combination of SPs and legal corporations, including the simplification of taxation, allows various plans to spring up which, besides optimizing flow of financies, gives rise to the opportunity of decreasing the tax base. But this is not against the law."
"The majority of fast-food places and restaurants operate under the SP plan," says director of the "Sibirsky Yuridichesky Kompani" Sergei Karpekin. "The main thing is for the business to be registered in accordance with legal standards and have a license agreement with the owner of the trademark under which they operate." In the lawyer's opinion, the tax agencies can have a claim on the NYP only in the event of a violation of company standards in classifying a small business as an SP. If the taxpayer does everything according to established standards, then, as Karpekin says, "we won practically every case and recovered the money."
NYP is not the only company that interests the organs of power. According to "KS" information, most large retailers and restaurants that use the SP status to minimuze taxes can, in the near future, expect to be audited. The initiative comes not from the UMNS, but from the regional administration. "In Novosibirsk there are big stores with a huge turnover in which ten employees really work," a source in the UMNS told "KS," "however they are registered as SPs and pay little tax in relation to their real turnover."
However, many companies have already turned down the SP as a form of tax optimization. According to Lyudmila Kozhemyakina (director of the Novosibirsk "Kopilka," "Krepost" and "Kvartal" chain stores and the "7 zvesd" store), her companies were re-registered as corporate entities just a year ago (before which they operated as SPs.) According to her information, this was necessary to make accounting more transparent. "In today's chain stores it's important to have a clear account of operations, for which it's necessary to have a single information base," says Kozhemyakina. "When stores are broken down into separate legal entities, getting information into one spot is very difficult."
Kontinent Sibir, 27.8.04, Stas Sokolov, Vadim Vorontsov, Yekaterina Khlebnikova
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489525390283389

20 years in prison for "blood rage" - the sentence is not yet in effect.
Graz, Austria. A 25-year-old Turk was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder by a jury in a Graz state criminal court. In November of last year the young man killed a Graz retiree by stabbing him over 80 times with a knife, after which he mutilated the body. He said the motive for his "blood rage" was sexual advances by the 58-year-old. The sentence is not yet in effect.
Alcohol problem
Abdurrahim P. was said to have been living in Graz for two years, and it was here that he converted from Islam to the Jehovah's Witnesses. "At that time he began to drink heavily. Before then, he had been forbidden alcohol on religious grounds," said the complainant, Barbara Woerter. When he was no longer able to stay in the Caritas Home, he found accommodations with Bernd A. The 58-year-old retiree was said to have already had several asylum-seekers stay with him.
What happened on the night of the murder could be reconstructed only in part. The fact is that both Bernd A. and Abdurrahim P. were drunk. The retiree was said to have sat down on the young man's bed, where he showed a knife and demanded sex. The accused said he was defending himself, and in the course of a struggle, A. was wounded and fell to the floor. According to the state attorney, the 25-year-old was obviously brimming with assurance: he is said to have grabbed several knives and repeatedly stabbed the man who was lying on the floor. According to the examining doctor, altogether there were 80 to 85 stab wounds. Three knives were left sticking in the body, which the alleged perpetrator is also said to have mutilated by cutting off a thumb and setting it in the dead man's mouth.
"Not guilty"
"Evidently I went into a blood rage," the accused believes, who said he did not feel guilty. "The man sitting there is not a murderer," said his defender. According to what P. said, he had already fallen asleep when the older man began his sexual advances. "He comes from a small village and had never been confronted with such a thing," the defender tried to explain why his client had gone into a rage of this sort. In his first interrogation he did not mention sexual advances. "I was embarrassed," was the 25-year-old's explanation.
Criminal psychologist Thomas Mueller explained the perpetrator's procedure with regard to the unusually large number of stab wounds and the subsequent mutilation as "acts that go beyond practical use, because they are satisfying a personal need." He said that the excesses that took place could be seen as an attempt at depersonification, which with the perpetrator distanced himself from his act.
The jury unanimously found the accused guilty. The court imposed a punishment of 20 years. The accused asked for time to think it over, to which the state prosecutor gave no statement.
http://www.kurier.at/, 10.9.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489518689617029

Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) - Germany
Website: http://www.adra-ev.de
Aid for traumatized children and relatives in Beslan
09 Sep 2004 10:49:00 GMT
ADRA Deutschland e.V.
Darmstadt/Moscow 8.9.
ADRA, the relief agency of the Free Church of the Adventists is readying the appropriate aid measures for the children and their relatives in Beslan who were affected by terrorism. As ADRA Russia communicated, the wounded were provided for in the hospitals. For that the local church of the Protestant Free Church put 30,000 rubles at the disposal of the aid center in Beslan for first aid. "Only the wounded souls cannot be treated with bandages or salve. Therefore the only thing that can be done is to be with the traumatized children and adults who have lost their relatives in this dramatic way."
According to a communication from our partner in Beslan, ADRA is also recruiting technical personnel, pastors and volunteer helpers from the Russian Adventist communities to be able to provide the people with urgently needed help. The corresponding contact has been established with the aid center in Beslan since the beginning of the hostage-taking. "The work is supposed to be done in harmony with other churches and organizations," said ADRA Russia.
We request support for this sensible activity through donations.
ADRA Spendenkonto: Konto Nummer: 020 007 020 9 BLZ: 508 800 50 Dresdner Bank Keyword: Russland/Beslan
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489508203307368

Cleric seeks truth at McDonalds.
Certain experts seriously suggest that churches need to use the same marketing methods that fast food chains do. Personal service with a smile and a gift will attract new parishioners, they believe. This opinion is held by cleric of the Anglican Church Alison Gilchrist. The author of the book "Creating A Culture of Welcome" asserted that the "hot coffee with a cold shoulder" method being used by some British churches needs to be changed to a considerate attitude and the "three-minute rule" of fast-food chains. This would help attract more people and after all it is widely known that over the past decade the number of parishioners in British churches has been declining more and more. As experts believe, this is of course not a matter of parishes competing with each other for "fast faith," but is more about the use of common marketing power. For example, about heightened attention toward the parishioners and their needs, along with reaching the maximum number of people with various social operations and with preachers.
As Alison Gilchrist believes, the congregation needs to learn the art of accepting people who cross the church's threshold for the first time, who they are not now catching hold of. For example, in her words, the thing that holds first place in the operation of a McDonalds restaurant is a welcoming attitude toward the guests, so that they will want to go there again. In contrast to that, many British churches do not now have open association, but regular clubs, where "outsiders" are refused entry. Along with this the cleric of the Anglican Church suggested that even if the "three-minute rule" were not adhered to, at first those newly arrived to the church should be greeted and then old acquaintances. Besides that, it would not hurt, in her opinion, to explain to the newcomers what the meaning of the church services was, nor to pay attention to the environment surrounding the church, and to the informational "content" on the bulletin board and so forth.
Of course there's nothing wrong with this, the more of a foundation there is, the better. Even in Russia in the very first year of operation, people lined up for McDonalds not only to try a Big Mac and other marvels, but also to see friendly salespeople who would help them with the selection of food and accommodatingly "heap on" the appropriate wares - ice cream, patties, etc. And many of the guests invariably came back, simply because they liked it so much, but not because the food offered there was so tasty. The principles of operation for this chain says the same thing. "At McDonalds there is one goal - to completely satisfy the needs of our guests. All initiatives of the company are gauged by this single criterion. And the formula to attain this goal is: quality, a culture of service, cleanliness and accessibility." These criteria would indeed be of general use to a parish. The more so because, according to experts, now the churches in the West are suffering a marked decline in parishioners. "British churches of various denominations are suffering as a result of years of not the best of times," Aleksei Gromyko, director of the Center of British Research, told RBC Daily. "It's now regularly discussed how to stop the decrease in the number of parishioners. Obviously, the use of marketing strategy for fast-food restaurants is just another indicator that the search even includes some unusual sources in the area of commerce." Similar theoretical suggestions have been made that equate parishioners and fast-food consumers, which, as Mr. Gromyko believes, should apply the same technique of sufficiently effective relations.
The idea of using a marketing approach might still work overseas where churches take a more active part in the life of the country. More than anyone else, the Catholic church constantly, actively expresses itself not only in issues of faith, but also on political aspects, Aleksei Gromyko believes. "The Protestants, including the Anglican Church, are not less active. In recent years, especially after the election of the new bishop of Canterbury, this tendency has become all the more noticeable. Well, in the 1990s the Anglican Church allowed women to be ordained, which caused considerable discussion. Nevertheless this practice was introduced, even if less than overwhelmingly."
The marketing methods of fast-food restaurants are not very widespread, either, but they are recognized. All the more so because they've been tested in the USA. Several years ago the movie "Dogma" was made, which in a pleasantly caustic manner depicted a church that sought to attract parishioners by various operations, the essence of which was tell them that people needed to accept Jesus as a "classy kid." "Yes, it was no accident that this thing came from the USA, where they use a freer style of church service and relations with parishioners," commented Aleksei Gromyko. "For British churches this, of course, was a novelty up to now, up to now this kind of idea was considered unorthodox and debatable. But such a tendency blends in with the search for the solution to the problem, and such a measure would be accepted, although not overwhelmingly, but to a marginal degree."
Of course, an opinion held by far from everybody is that a similar idea, "filling religious needs fast," is good. "Perhaps this idea would be successful when the technology in use goes flat," Serafim Melentev, director of the federal expert channel "Kontsept-Media," told RBC Daily. "They would need to deliver on a different qualitative level. But at the same time a higher motif is not being used, but the same technology that sects use to attract people." In Mr. Melentev's opinion, similar steps are undertaken for effectiveness sake. "Any commercial technology is used," he believes. "After all, religious organizations exist for the flock, which it needs somehow to attract. But if stereotypical agitants do not work, they will use network marketing."
Of course, when all is said and done, nobody quickly overwhelms the flock, or intends to. The issue, more than anything else, is why people regularly go to McDonalds -- the realization that someone is taking part in their life. "The issue could be about trying to give more attention to parishioners and to reach the greatest number of people with preaching and various events," Mr. Gromyko believes. "This kind of approach is directed toward maximal utilization of time by church ministers in contact with a large number of people. But here if someone should try to conduct him- or herself exactly like they do at McDonald's, then the superficiality of such an approach would bring the reverse result. An official increase in the number of parishioners in one church, in reality, would lead to a reduction in the quantity of sincere believers."
RBCDaily.Ru, 30.8.04, Anna Popova
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489498935081740

Dangerous religious organization in Novosibirsk.
A dangerous neo-heathen doctrine, "Tropa Troyanova," preaches the development of supernatural magical powers in humans. According to information from the department of public affairs of the Novosibirsk mayor's office, 20 religious organizations are officially registered in the city. In the antisect reference guide of the Information-Consultation center on issues of sectarianism, besides these 20, another 72 religious organizations are in operation. Some of them, such as the "Tropa Troyanova," are very dangerous.
The organization is spread throughout both Novosibirsk and Novsibirsk province. The Russian Orthodox Church states it is a destructive totalitarian sect. The sect has no regular address. As a rule, they conduct weekly seminars in the city - in health spas and wellness centers. Notification is usually carried out through acquaintances and participants of past seminars, according to "Sarfanni Radio."
At the seminars, sleep is limited to a few hours a day, and tea and lard are the food. The group practices fornication, which is taped on videocamera. The goal of the seminars is to teach people "routine magic."
Deputy director of the antisect center Oleg Zaev has reported on some of the specifics in use at the seminars. One of them is hyperventilation, or fast, deep breathing. That leads to an excess of oxygen in the brain and in people that reduces their critical perception of the world. The leader of this cult, Aleksasha, has beautifully mastered the technique of psychologically enslaving people. Tropa Troyanova is his cult. Every word he says is considered to be a revelation.
However, behind the beautiful sign about the "spiritual revival of Russia" is hidden a mercenary goal of profit. From 50 to 70 people show up at a seminar, and each one pays. "Troyanova Tropa" is a business with its own publishing house.
The full version of the article can be read in Russian on the "Vecherni Novosibirsk" web pages.
NSK.Ru, 31.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109489490663458231

Friday, September 03, 2004

Vladimir Bunchikov and the "School Waltz".
This musical composition appeared on our stage more than half century ago, in 1951, and ever since then it's practically obligatory that it be heard every year on the first day of September. Isaak Dunaevsky's song, "Shkolniy Vals" ("School Waltz") with lyrics by Mikhail Matusovsky is a cult composition with a school theme. Really, it sounds pleasantly passionate. However, on the Soviet stage such passion was encouraged and diligently spread where it was both needed and not needed. "School Waltz" was heard in a recording by soloist Vladimir Bunchikov of All-union radio accompanied by the stage orchestra of Radiokomitet. Learned by everyone, it had its place in the classrooms and in educational auditoriums, celebrating the beginning of the school year and the desire for all kinds of success in the process of acquiring knowledge.
RadioMayak.Ru, 1.9.04, Igor Makarov
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109420968273899023

Bork releases new album.
A new album, "Medulla," by Icelandic cult singer Bork goes on sale today. In this album Bork relied not on music, but on vocals. It's reported that on disk she experimented with voice, with little or no instruments.
Utro.Ru, 31.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109420963557345664

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Queen entertains Iran.
The legendary group, Queen, became the first western rock group to release an album in Iran. Last year for the first time in this country of strict Islamic morals a cassette with this group's recordings was put on sale. This event was particularly sensational if it is taken into account that the leader of Queen, Freddy Mercury, who died from AIDS in 1991, did not hide his non-traditional sexual orientation.
Rock music, like any other manifestation of western musical culture, is under prohibition in Iran, to say nothing of an intolerant attitude toward homosexuals, who are put on the same level as criminals.
Apparently Freddy and Queen blazed a trail to the Iranian audience with the performer's Persian roots, ITAR-TASS has suggested. He was born into a family of Indian Parsees, fire-worshippers whose ancestors left Persia in the Middle Ages for India to escape religious persecution.
Mercury was always proud of his origins, which seem also to have mollified Iranian censors. Now the Iranian fans of Queen can, with official approval, enjoy the best hits of their favorite group, whose disks smuggled into Iran long ago made them one of the most popular groups in this country.
The cassette, which costs less than a dollar, contains the best songs of Queen, such as the mega-hits Bohemian Rhapsody, The Miracle and I Want to Break Free. It has been reported that besides that, the album also has love ballads. Translations into Farsi have been provided for all the texts.
Other western performers who have had song anthologies released in Iran include Elton John, Julio Iglesias and the Gypsy Kings group.
Along with that, lyrics, both translations and in the original, to the songs of many western performers has been published in Iran in the form of a book. This honor has been bestowed on, among others, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion and even the rap group Eminem, reports BBC.
Western performers enjoy great popularity in Iran because 70% of the country's population are young people under 30 years old.
NewsRU.com, 26.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109413354155562861

Moscow Jehovists turn Siberian.
The regional congress of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization was held over the course of three days in Novosibirsk in the Chkalovets stadium. In connection with this representatives from five Siberian regions arrived in Novosibirsk, which was joined unexpectedly by a Moscow contingent.
The eccentric shift from Moscow registration to Siberian is related to the fact that on 26 March 2004 the Golovinsky district court of the northern administrative region of Moscow made a decision about registration of the Moscow Jehovah’s Witnesses religions organization. Three months later the Moscow city court reviewed the appeal by the defendants, but let the decision stand, which in fact means the liquidation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Moscow. According to the conclusions of various authoritative international anti-sect conferences, that religious movement is characterized as a dangerous totalitarian sect. A report was given earlier by the "Vecherniy Novosibirsk" newspaper on the signs carried by picketers at the Chkalovets stadium, an event that was organized by the Novosibirsk anti-sect center of the Holy prince Aleksandr Nevsky cathedral.
Regions.Ru, 24.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109413336631768204

Catholics against Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Catholic Church has a negative reaction to sectarianism, including the activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was explained to an IA Regnum correspondent in Veliki Novgorod by Georgiy Kevorkyants, an official representative of the Militia Dei, a Catholic educational organization from St. Petersburg. According to Mr. Kevorkyants, the Catholic Church was conducting informational work in various countries directed toward the preventing people from joining various sects. There are a number of Catholic informational and rehabilitative centers that are engaged in this sort of activity throughout the world.
Along with that, emphasized G. Kevorkyants, Catholics do not have a hostile attitude toward the sect members themselves; people have often been deceived into joining this sort of organization. They are more in need of prayer and Christian help than they are of aggressive criticism.
"Proceeding from this, Catholics, as traditional Christians, are anything but pleased with the appearance in Veliki Novgorod of a Jehovah’s Witnesses 'Kingdom Hall,'" says G. Kevorkyants, "however, we do not consider prohibition to be a means of countering sect activity."
In conclusion, G. Kevorkyants emphasized that despite this, there is still a need to inform the public about the disastrous impact of sects.
IA Regnum, 26.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109413329645039499

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cosmetic line from Moroccan masters.
More than three thousand years ago there existed, on the territory of north Africa, state formations, the rulers of which carefully guarded the secrets of caring for the body and who maintained a real cult of beauty. Times have changed and now this secret knowledge is being used by the fashion industry to create cosmetics that can make royalty out of any present-day woman.
Frenchwoman Vanessa Sitbon, in collaboration with the Sultane de Saba company, has developed a splendid natural means for body care that is based on a very exotic oil, as well as ordinary European milk, copper and black olives. Supplementing that are verbena, mind, petals of rose, lotus and jasmine, as well as a plant, which grows only in Morocco, which gives the cosmetic line a sensation of eastern mystery.
If you would like to buy this refined product, then find time to visit the Gallery Lafayette or Carlotta or find one of the many Sultane de Saba boutiques on a street corner of Paris, located in the most prestigious quarter of the city (16th arrondissement). The publication recommends you take a look at the "Elixir de la Mariye" which is traditionally used in Morocco on the first wedding night. Brand products are also available in London in the Momo shop at Selfridges.
From Fashionwindows material.
Intermoda.Ru, 26.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109403235460327828

Addicts getting Word of Life.
A rehabilitation center will be built in Feodisiya. The project originators say that its main task will be the rehabilitation of former drug addicts. The idea for the construction of the center was supported by the municipal executive committee, and the managerment chose an empty two-story building that used to belong to the railroad. The Feodosiya administration has earmarked more than 40,000 dollars from unbudgeted expenses for restoration of the building. Financial support was also rendered from a group of Feodosiya oil product suppliers. Because drug addiction is not always satisfactorily treated with medication, members of the local evangelical church will also be at the center. The city administration has entrusted spiritual care to a church by the name of "Word of Life." Meanwhile, representatives from the Russian Orthodox Church have repeatedly stated that the "Word of Life" is a totalitarian sect.
Drugoevremya.com, 24.8.04
archive url: http://cultology.blogspot.com/2004/09/#109403231303997594

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