October 24, 2021

"'We’ve created a self-sustaining society, and our freedom is dangerous for the system,' said Aleksandr A. Komogortsev, 46, a disciple who was a police officer in Moscow for 11 years..."

"... before moving to one of the biggest villages three years ago. 'We have shown how it is possible to live outside the system,' he said, gushing over a breakfast of salad and potato dumplings about how fulfilling it was to work with his hands. Tanya Denisova, 68, a follower since 1999, said the church was focused on God’s judgment, not politics. She moved to the village in 2001, after divorcing her husband, who did not want to join the church. 'We came here to get away from politics,' she said.... Each village where followers live, like Ms. Denisova’s Petropavlovka, functions as a 'united family'.... For many of the believers, their leader’s arrest, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, is a sign that Judgment Day approaches. Others said they felt his arrest was the fulfillment of a prophecy, comparing their teacher’s plight with that of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. Stanislav M. Kazakov, the head of a small private school in the village of Cheremshanka, said.... 'They thought we would fall apart without him.... But in the past year, we have returned to the kind of community that holds each other together.'"

From "Long Arm of Russian Law Reaches Obscure Siberian Church/The arrest of the leader of a small religious group reveals that Russian repression reaches even to the depths of the Siberian forest" (NYT). 

And let me stress that the photographs, by Mary Gelman, are truly captivating. There is an unworldly beauty. One has the caption, "Amalia Protasov hugging a unicorn balloon in her room in Abode of Dawn."


Richard Aubrey said...

Hope the FSB doesn't call in the FBI storm troopers.

Sebastian said...

"There is an idea that there is a defined spiritual essence of Russian culture, meaning conservative values and so on, that is in danger”

That idea has been floating around in Russia for centuries.

But judging by their clothes and accommodations, these people do not live entirely "outside the system." Nor could they.

FullMoon said...

Yeah, in Waco, we just murder the weird cults once in awhile to keep the rest of 'em in line.

(Women and children hit hardest.)

Yancey Ward said...

FullMoon beat me to it. One word- "Waco".

ga6 said...

Russia as here just cannot leave the peons alone.

ga6 said...

Not limited to Russia: "New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted she wants to create two classes of citizens based on vaccination status.

John henry said...

I can't read the article but I don't think this is new.

My recollection is that there was a hidden religious community in Siberia formed in the 1930s.very hidden very secretive and just came to light in the past 20 years or so.

I think it might habe been in Ann applebaum's book.

John Henry

M Jordan said...

NYT at their best here. I guess when they can write about something outside our political world they can still do journalism.

Thanks for the link, Ann. And you’re right, stunning, otherworldly photography.

Biff said...

M Jordan said...NYT at their best here. I guess when they can write about something outside our political world they can still do journalism.

I tend to agree: this was a genuinely interesting article, enhanced by the lush, sympathetic photography. It bears a distinct resemblance to that thing we once knew as "journalism."

At the same time, I can't help but wonder who commissioned the article and why they did so. The NYT does not randomly decide to do a detailed, generally sympathetic profile of a seemingly obscure Christian sect in remote Siberia.

Imagine how the NYT would cover a similar fact pattern if it included the US government spiriting away the leader of a remote church community in rural Idaho. There is a lot of manipulation happening here.

As an aside, note the overwrought headline of another article that was linked from that page: "Poland’s Attacks on Rule of Law Leave Europe at Odds With Itself." An alternative headline might be "Conservative countries with recent experience of imperial subjugation seek limits to EU power."

The NYT always has an agenda. Never forget that.

PM said...

The church is absolutely mad, and stunning.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have heard too many times that someone-or-other is "just like Jesus" because they are persecuted.