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17933Russian Activist Fined in Orthodox Church Slur Case

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    May 18, 2013

      Russian Activist Fined in Orthodox Church Slur Case

      MOSCOW, May 17 (RIA Novosti/RAPSI) - A Moscow court fined the head of a
      consumer rights group 100,000 rubles (about $3,200) on Friday for
      libeling a Russian religious foundation.

      In an interview with Novaya Gazeta last September, Mikhail Anshakov, the
      head of Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, claimed the Christ the Savior
      Cathedral in downtown Moscow housed a business center including the
      offices of 15 commercial firms, a tire-changing service, a dry-cleaners,
      a parking lot, a cafeteria, and jewelry shops.

      Anshakov accused Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill of “trading in
      the House of God” and appealed to the state prosecutor to investigate
      what he said was the inappropriate use of the cathedral by the Christ
      the Savior Cathedral Foundation, which oversees trade at the church.

      The appeal was unsuccessful, and the Cathedral Foundation's head, Vasily
      Poddevalin, accused Anshakov of libel.

      Anshakov, who was not present in Moscow’s Presnensky District Court on
      Friday, denied libel and said he had only passed judgment, which was not
      subject to prosecution.

      In late December, Anshakov was hospitalized after an attack in central
      Moscow by a man wielding a crowbar. He suffered a neck injury and a
      broken hand.

      The Christ the Savior Cathedral was the site of a a controversial
      protest in February 2012 by anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot, for which
      two of the performers were later sent to jail for offending the beliefs
      of religious believers.