Photo: act of religiously motivated vandalism (Krasnoyarsk Territory, December 2019)

Crimes Against Believers

What Preceded Intentional Damage to Property Based on Religious Hatred in the Village of Sukhobuzimskoe?

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On December 29, 2019, in the village of Sukhobuzimskoye (Krasnoyarsk Territory), a believer's car was smashed with a sledgehammer and a threatening note was left. Earlier, law enforcement officers conducted 13 searches of believers in this small village. Any search casts a shadow on a person's reputation in the eyes of neighbors, employers and other people.

On June 14, 2019, in a village with a population of about 4,000 people, security forces invaded 13 homes of believers, including the house of Kirill Mikhailin, with searches and interrogations. Another search took place on the same day in the neighboring village of Minderla and a few days later at Mikhailin's registration address in Krasnoyarsk. The searches and interrogations were led by investigator Denis Lugovoi, who had previously been seconded to the department of the Investigative Committee of Krasnoyarsk. He also investigated the criminal case against Andrey Stupnikov, initiated in July 2018 (the investigation has been completed, but the case has not yet been submitted to the court). Almost all searches in Sukhobuzimsky were accompanied by questions about Stupnikov.

Although the local resident suspected of attacking Kirill Mikhailin's car was found and questioned on the same day, the episode raises important questions. What caused such intense hatred? How did the security forces' intrusion into the homes of believers affect their relations with their neighbors in the village, where everyone knows each other? Could it discredit civilians in the eyes of fellow villagers?

According to believers, law enforcement officers, who accuse them of inciting religious hatred, by their own actions themselves incite hatred of dissidents in people. A striking example of this is the surge in sectarian violence that occurred shortly after the infamous Supreme Court decision in April 2017.