Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why is the Russian Phoenix, who rises from the ashes, always totalitarian in nature?

At least once or twice a week I am reminded to be grateful to my ancestors for leaving ‘Old Europe” behind two generations ago. In the age of Putin and Post-Putin, the totalitarian nature of the Russian state once again rears its ugly racist clutches.

This time it is an outraged Tatar blogger who objected to the forced baptism of Tatar infants by Russian Orthodox priests and expressively against the wishes of the children’s parents. If that wasn’t outrageousness enough, Rafiz Kashapov, a blogger who posted “No to Christianity” has been found guilty of ‘provoking interethnic and inter-religious hostility (contrary to Section 1, Article 282, of the Russian Criminal Code. The Moscow Times:
Last Friday’s conviction in a Naberezhny Chelny court of a Tatar activist who had spoken out against the baptism of Tatar infants by a Russian Orthodox priest without the permission of their parents or guardians has sparked protests from the Tatar Social Center (TOTs) as well as from human and religious rights groups elsewhere.

On Friday, the court found TOTs leader Rafiz Kashapov guilty of provoking interethnic and inter-religious hostility (under Section 1 of Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code) for his article “No to Christianization!” in which he protested the baptism of infants of Tatar nationality, a traditionally Muslim people, and gave him a suspended sentence of 18 months.

The article appeared on Kashapov’s blog shortly after a Russian Orthodox priest baptized the children on January 16th of this year without the knowledge or agreement of their parents. His article led to protests in several cities of Tatarstan, and his blog was subsequently suppressed by the authorities.

Now, following Kashapov’s conviction and protests by several rights groups, his own Tatar Social Center has issued an appeal to human rights groups, social and political organizations, and the media of Tatarstan and Russia, denouncing this action and demanding that the authorities reverse course.
Shameful, absolutely shameful.

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