Alexander Dvorkin: Russian Criminal Code should contain ‘conscience manipulation’ and ‘psychological violence’ to fight sects

Moscow, February 20, Interfax – Prof. Alexander Dvorkin, president of the Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Sectarian Studies, has proposed to introduce a number of new notions in the Russian Criminal Code for more effective counteraction to totalitarian cults.

‘The Criminal Code should contain such terms as ‘conscience manipulation’ and ‘psychological violence’. These terms will make it possible for us to carry out effective work in the struggle with sects’, Dvorkin said at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday.

It is for the lack of appropriate articles in the Criminal Code, he believes, that ‘the lawsuit against Grabovoy is glitching’ now.

Dvorkin reminded the journalists that there was no definition of the term sect in Russia today. This word is usually used in religious studies and in sociological sense. However, the time for its legal clarification just as for adoption of a particular law on sects ‘has not come yet’, he believes.

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‘If a law on sects is adopted today we will lose. A proper preparation is needed first to put together a serious legal and probative data for struggle against sects’, the professor stressed.

He said nobody had a precise statistics on the number of sects in Russia today because there was no task-oriented monitoring of their activity.

However, according to Dvorkin’s information, there are over 80 large sects in the country, with their activity embracing over half of the Russian regions. As for the number of minor sects, he says, ‘they amount to thousands’.

Dvorkin also maintains that from 600 to 800 thousand Russians belong to sects today. Some 300 thousand out of them belong to various neo-Pentecostal sects and 150 thousand to the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect.

In addition to those enumerated, Dvorkin considers among large sects the communities of Mormons, Krishnaites and the so-called Church of the Mother of God.

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Interfax, Russia
Feb. 20, 2007

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This post was last updated: Feb. 21, 2007