Russia tries to protect churches against sexually suggestive pictures


Eastern Europe


St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. Photo AFP, Eric Feferberg

Russian police are investigating several cases against young people who posted sexually suggestive content on social media near places of worship.

The police department in the city of Kaluga, which is 180 kilometres southwest of Moscow, said it discovered “while monitoring the internet” a photograph of a woman flashing her buttocks in front of a church.

There have been at least four similar cases in recent weeks where authorities have opened an investigation into these matters.

According to The Moscow Times, the charges of “insulting religious feelings” reflect the Kremlin’s intensifying focus on defending conservative values. Just last week, a Moscow court fined a music video channel for “gay propaganda”. According to The Moscow Times. The authorities said the event was marked with a “6+” age restriction instead of the required “18+” and thus violated Russia’s controversial law banning “gay propaganda” toward minors.

Church doesn’t want to be party

Although the Russian State is scaling up its focus on charges related to religion, the Russian Orthodox Church does not want to be a part of it. The St. Petersburg diocese of the Church does not want to become a party in the proceedings against bloggers who bared their buttocks in front of the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg and will be satisfied with “active repentance”.

According to Natalia Rodomanova, who is head of the St. Petersburg Metropolitanate’s communications sector, this repentance can be expressed in participation in the distribution of food to the homeless. This writes the Russian press agency RIA Novosti.

Two bloggers sentenced

Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced two bloggers to ten months in prison for staging an x-rated photoshoot near St. Basil across from St. Basil’s Cathedral near the Kremlin. The pair are the first to receive real prison time under Russia’s law that criminalises “insulting religious feelings.” Russia passed the “insulting religious feelings” law in 2013 in retaliation to anti-Kremlin activist group Pussy Riot’s anti-Putin performance at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.



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