Head of religious group “Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg” Ivan Matsitsky was found guilty of extremism and illegal business and sentenced to 6.5 years in prison. Since he was in a pre-trial detention center for a long time, he was released in the courtroom, as having served his sentence. This was reported to RAPSI in the United Press Service of the Courts (OPS) of St. Petersburg.
The first people interested in Scientology in the USSR appeared in the 80s of the last century, in the 90s Scientology successfully developed in Russia. The book Dianetics was presented by Scientologists in 1993 at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. Dianetics was praised by such influential politicians of the 90s as Sergei Stepashin And Alexander Rutskoy. The “Hubbard Hall” was opened at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, in 1995 the current deputy head of the presidential administration Sergei Kirienko (then the head of the bank “Guarantee”) was trained by Scientologists. Since then, Kiriyenko has repeatedly denied any involvement with Hubbard’s followers.
In addition to the Church of Scientology, trainings for businessmen founded by Hubbard’s supporters, courses for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and the resocialization of criminals appeared in Russia. Scientologists are also involved in advocating for the rights of people undergoing treatment for mental disorders.
In 2010, three dozen of Hubbard’s books were deemed extremist. Later, according to the press service of the Church of Scientology in Moscow, the Ministry of Justice of Russia excluded the works of Ron Hubbard from the list of extremist materials on the basis of the decision of the Surgut city court to reverse the earlier court decision. However, in the summer of 2011, Ron Hubbard’s book What is Scientology? and some other pamphlets by the same author recognized extremist Shchelkovsky city court of the Moscow region. The local prosecutor’s office applied to the court with a demand to include the works of the founder of the Church of Scientology in the list of prohibited ones.
— Scientologists live in a situation of gradually narrowing space [для религиозной деятельности]. The ban on international organizations is another step in this direction. Apart from various NGOs, only one Scientology organization was registered as a religious organization. This seems to be the only case: [в 2015 году] she was deprived of registration, as an examination was carried out, and the court ruled that [саентология] – not a religion at all, – says the head of the SOVA center Alexander Verkhovsky.
In its lawsuit to liquidate the religious association “Church of Scientology Moscow”, the Department of Justice then noted that the word “Scientology” itself was registered as a trademark, the rights to which belong to the Center for Religious Technology in the United States of America, and therefore the “Church of Scientology Moscow” cannot be called religious organization. As a result of the trial, the court, guided by the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure of the Russian Federation (Articles 174, 180, 264), ruled: to satisfy the claim of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.
While hundreds of criminal cases have already been filed against adherents of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists open only one criminal case for religious activity – against five leaders of the St. Petersburg Church of Scientologists. It has been under investigation since 2016 and is now being considered in court. In 2018, in the materials of the criminal case, lawyers found notes by investigators, including the following: “he knows a lot, but is silent, interrogation with an electric memory.” The people involved in this case have been recognized as political prisoners by the Memorial Human Rights Center.
zona.media, 06/20/2018, “Interrogation with an electric memory”. In St. Petersburg, the lawyers of the Scientologists were given case materials with the notes of the FSB investigator.: “Interrogation with an electric memory”, “interrogate again”, “a moron, but he knows for sure that there is no extremism and paid services” – pink stickers with such signatures were left on one of the volumes of the criminal case by the FSB investigators who are conducting the case of the parishioners of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg. The volume with these stickers was probably mistakenly given to the lawyers to familiarize themselves with the case file. […]
On June 19, lawyer Alexander Meleshko, representing the interests of Anastasia Terentyeva, received the case materials for review. According to the lawyer, he noticed that on the volume of the case with the protocols of interrogation of witnesses it was signed in pencil “Witnesses (bad)”, and the pages were covered with pink stickers with notes: “Knows a lot, but is silent – interrogation with an electric memory” (the last word was clearly written in a hurry and fuzzy, it can also be read, for example, as “with an electric igniter” or “with an electric igniter” – or, say, “with an extra helper”), “A moron, but he knows for sure that there is no extremism and paid services”, “No connection with the CCM – QUESTION FOR MORE” (perhaps the CCM is the Church of Scientology in Moscow). — Inset K.ru
Previously, the lawyers of the “Team 29” were also involved in the defense of Scientologists, but its activities in Russia were terminated this summer. The former head of “Team 29” Ivan Pavlov, who left for Georgia due to persecution, did not comment on the case of St. Petersburg Scientologists for Radio Liberty. Vitaly Ivashkov, a lawyer currently involved in the trial of Scientologists in St. Petersburg, told Radio Liberty that he does not see a direct connection between this criminal case and the recognition of international structures of Scientologists as undesirable.
“Never defend, always attack. Threatening and destroying reputation until any opponent of Scientology sue for peace” – this policy was formulated in a special “Guide to Justice” intended for members of the Church of Scientology, its founder Ronald Hubbard. […]
The fight against the IRS required a massive undercover operation from the Scientologists, but even here they did an excellent job.
The conflict arose in the early 1970s, when the tax authorities conducted an investigation that recognized the Church of Scientology as a commercial enterprise, denied it tax benefits due to religious organizations, and initiated a fraud case against Hubbard, who allegedly laundered church money through Panamanian offshores and transferred them to their own Swiss bank accounts. Hubbard told his followers that the allegations were the result of “a conspiracy of Nazis, bankers, and big pharma in secret control of the US government,” and set them on the goal of destroying all government documents that compromised the church. Thus began Operation Snow White.
Scientologists took jobs as secretaries, cleaners, typists in the customs service, the department of justice, the court of justice, Interpol, foreign embassies and, of course, the tax office – and everywhere they destroyed documents relating to the church. The operation was exposed in 1977 after the FBI arrested a Scientologist with a fake IRS ID at the Supreme Court building. During the trial, the astounding scale of the infiltration of Scientologists into the US government was revealed: more than five thousand spies in 136 government agencies – this has never happened before or since in US history. In 1979, 11 leaders of the Church of Scientology, including Ron Hubbard’s third wife Mary Sue, were sentenced to one to six years in prison for conspiring against the US government. […] The personal involvement of Ron Hubbard himself in Operation Snow White has never been proven. With the IRS documents required for the trial destroyed, the fraud case dragged on for a decade, and by the time charges arose, Hubbard was no longer alive.
The CIA was actively involved in the investigation of Operation Snow White, so the next target of the attack of Scientologists was precisely it. […] In 1979, American Citizens for Government Integrity, an NGO, was founded and funded by the church, although it was not part of it. “American Citizens” used the Freedom of Information Act, under which every US citizen has the right to access declassified government documents. So they received the CIA materials, conducted additional investigations and sent the results to the most respected publications. Since the CIA revelations are invariably in demand by readers, publications often published them. […] For example, in 1979, The Washington Post ran several articles mentioning American Citizens investigations about covert CIA mind control operations or biological weapons testing. “American Citizens” did not provide direct evidence of the illegal actions of the CIA, but indirect evidence is traditionally enough to further discredit the intelligence agency in the public mind. So, based on CIA data that pertussis bacteria entered its laboratory in 1955, and medical records that recorded an outbreak of whooping cough in Florida at the same time, American Citizens speculated that the CIA was testing bioweapons in the state. […] Official representatives of the department, always refusing to comment publicly, had to officially declare that all documents on biological tests and related programs were destroyed in 1973 by order of the then head of the department. […]