Friday, February 5, 2010

Satanic panic in Russia

In Russia, it looks like we now have a combination of (1) what MIGHT be a actual small but abusive, authoritarian group which may have pressured its female members into having sex with the leader, in the name of Satanism, and (2) general panic about Satanism, with claims that Satanism poses more of a public threat than Islamic supremacist terrorists. Here are the current Russian headlines:

Both these stories are about a group called the Nobilis Ordo Diaboli, based in Saransk. Its founding members were 24-year-old Belarus national Alexander Kazakov and 23-year-old local Denis Danishin.

As for the "Satanic rapists": The RT story says, at the very end: "When police cracked down on the cult in 2009, they seized numerous books about Satanism and occult paraphernalia like animal sculls [sic]. The defendants claim that their sect was a mere role-playing club, and everything the members did was done voluntarily. They also deny charges of sexual abuse and violence." I have to wonder whether the women in the group were pressured, by the cops, into making false accusations against the leaders, as a way of getting themselves off the hook for whatever they might have been charged with. Anyhow, the trial is still ongoing, so it's premature to judge whether their leaders are guilty or innocent of the crimes they are accused of.

As for "infiltrating the police," if indeed that's true, I would say that religiously diverse police departments are a necessity in order to avoid religious bigotry in how the laws are enforced. I would be much more worried about theocratic Christians who "infiltrate the police" in far greater numbers than any small religious sect possibly could, for the purpose of using the police department to harass minority religions.

An earlier, related news story is Satanic cult leader arrested in central Russia, RiaNovosti, January 28, 2009.

Religious freedom in general does not seem to be one of Russia's strong suits. See the article Russian Supreme Court bans regional Jehovah's Witnesses branch, RiaNovosti, .

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