Atheism on Trial in Russia’s Stavropol

Mar 22, 2016

Photo credit: Pixabay

By Victor Davidoff

In a courtroom in Stavropol, Viktor Krasnov, a physician’s assistant, is accused of the same crime as Giordano Bruno, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Salman Rushdie — atheism. Krasnov probably isn’t thrilled to be in such illustrious company, just as no one else is thrilled by this felony case. Hopping into a time machine is a great fantasy, but not when it takes you to the dungeons of the Inquisition.

Krasnov is facing one year in prison under Article 148 of the Criminal Code — for “public actions that express clear lack of respect for society and are carried out with the aim of insulting the religious feelings of believers.” His “actions” consisted of a verbal quarrel on the Stravropol page of the social network VKontakte in the fall of 2014.

It all began, as so much begins, with a conversation about women — specifically with a quote from the Apostle Paul: “Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and God the head of Christ.”

“Where’s that crap from, the Domostroi?” Krasnov wrote, referring to a medieval Russian book of rules for family life, which recommend, in part, that a husband periodically beat his wife.

Not just one but two people on the forum explained to Krasnov that this was from the Bible. Krasnov got annoyed and called the Bible “a collection of Jewish fairy tales” — although to be fair, he did add, “for me, anyway.” Then one of his opponents threatened to knock some sense into him, to which Krasnov replied, “There is no God!

Apparently deciding to not bother with theological proof of God’s existence, Krasnov’s opponents turned to the help of the police, prosecutor’s office and court instead. They denounced him.


7 comments on “Atheism on Trial in Russia’s Stavropol

  • Those god-delusions are really easily offended especially when they are hosted by people in official positions of power and are stuck for a rational answer!
    It’s very embarrassing for the for an “omnipotent” god-delusion to be stuck for a rational answer, so temper tantrums from their puppet hosts are predictable!

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  • The poor guy has “offended” others’ cherished beliefs. The only solution ? Lock him up. But then this is Russia, where many were put against the wall for nothing other than Stalin’s regime suspected some sort of resistance. Perhaps our comrade should think himself lucky ?

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  • Ever since the fall of the officially atheist Soviet Union the Russian federation has been seeking something to unify the nation and the traditional religion of Russia, Eastern Orthodoxy, was the logical choice. For a society that has undergone the profound changes and loss of confidence that Russia has, reverting to the ideas and traditions of earlier times provides the comforting reassurance and sense of shared values and cultural-historical grounding that was previously lacking. We can thus expect only more, not less, of such things. Until Russia fully regains its confidence and doesn’t need such psychological props for its culture, expect it to remain a deeply (and, at least for the short term, increasingly) morally conservative society. Its rulers need to keep the nation unified by some means, after all.

    I suppose in the English-speaking world we use ‘faith’ in the political system in much the same way the Russians did (just substitute capitalism for communism, a 2-party state for a 1-party state). But what if people begin to lose confidence in the political system like the Russians did, if the system can no longer deliver the benefits we’ve come to expect? What, then, will we turn to?

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  • Perhaps it’s time for a new T-shirt slogan, ‘Nobody expects the Russian inquisition’.
    Don’t believers realise that they are insulting his intelligence when they spout bible nonsense and expect him to swallow such crap without comment.
    The last man in England to be jailed for blasphemy was John William Got, and that was back in 1921! It would seem that the Russians have taken a backward step with this ludicrous prosecution.
    I would just like to point out to the informant who denounced him to the authorities something that Lord Byron said: “He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool, and he who dare not is a slave.”

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  • Appalling but not that surprising from Russia, LGBT people don’t get to parade there either. From what I have seen you have some freedom, as long as you don’t rock the boat… Which of course is NOT true freedom at all.

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  • Since god is apparently omnipresent and omniscient and will therefore be watching the trial perhaps the accused might ask the court to recess for 5 minutes, leave the accused alone in his cell and let god himself hand out the punishment if he has been offended. When nothing happens the conclusion must be that god decided to turn the other cheek and everyone can go home again.

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