We have recently discussed how Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia have arrested and flogged atheists under medieval Sharia legal systems. However, the most recent case is not out of the Middle East but rather Russia. Viktor Krasnov has been arrested for simply stating his belief that “there is no God” during an argument on social media. For his atheist views, Krasnov has been charged with “offending believers feelings.” He is the latest victim of the political alliance of Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church.
We previously discussed how Putin’s government shut down atheist sites as part of its alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church. In return for draconian laws and prosecutions of religious and social dissidents, the Church has thrown its weight behind Putin and his authoritarian government. That unholy alliance was in full view with the abusive prosecution of the band “Pussy Riot” for a protest performance at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February 2012. The law was passed after that notorious case.
Viktor Krasnov has committed the crime of discussing his view of faith as well as his statement that the “Bible is a collection of Jewish fairy tales” on European social networking site Vk.com in 2014. He is now on trial in the city of Stavropol in southern Russia. Adding to this nightmare, Krasnov was forced into a month-long psychiatric check during the investigation. After declaring him sane, he is now being prosecuted because he is sane but also an atheist.
The shocking rollback of both civil liberties and the freedom of the press in Russia has been shocking. The use of state power to crush critics of both Putin and the Russia Orthodox Church has moved the country back into time. In combination with military expansionist policies, Putin’s authoritarian rule is becoming painfully familiar to students of history.