Vandal of Moscow Icons Released from Jail
© RIA Novosti. Evgeny Biyatov
MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced a
man that vandalized icons in Russia’s largest Orthodox cathedral to a
year of limited freedom, but released him for time served.
The court found St. Petersburg resident Yury Piotrovsky guilty of
“vandalism incited by religious hatred” for pouring ink on two icons in
Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in September, RAPSI legal news
The cathedral was the site of a protest performance last February by the
Pussy Riot punk band against the church and its perceived support for
the government that landed several group members in jail on hooliganism
Piotrovsky, a 62-year-old with a history of mental illness, was
sentenced Tuesday to confinement in his home city for the period of a
year, but was freed in view of the six months he had already spent at a
The court also banned Piotrovsky from visiting Christian religious sites
for one year.
Prosecutors accused Piotrovsky of seeking attention as “an ideologue
seeking to prove the falseness of religious teachings” by damaging
icons, which are deemed hallowed objects by followers of the Orthodox
Piotrovsky pleaded guilty to the charges against him and said he had
sent a letter to Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill expressing
Piotrovsky said fellow detainees at pre-detention facility had helped
him recognize the error of his ways.
“I changed 14 cells and was banished from many of them,” he said. “This
helped me to reconsider my deed. I ask all believers for forgiveness.”
Piotrovsky had previously been confined to a mental institution, but
experts ruled he was fit to stand trial.
His case bears some parallels with that involving Pussy Riot, who
provoked widespread outrage with their punk prayer in the Christ the
A clip of the band’s performance posted online showed the five-girl
group high-kicking at the altar to the accompaniment of the song titled
“Holy S**t” in which they urged the Virgin Mary to “drive out” Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin, who was then standing for re-election to the
presidency in March elections.
The song also poured scorn on Patriarch Kirill and believers.
Three band members, who were subsequently arrested for the protest,
pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism aimed at inciting religious
A court sentenced the women to two years in jail, but later reduced one
band member's punishment to a suspended sentence.