Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia, March 5, 2018
“I did what anyone should do who loves his home, family, and motherland,” Presnyakov said.
Sergei Presnyakov, the Cossack whose actions protecting parishioners of St. George’s Cathedral in Kizlyar during the deadly shooting that took place two weeks ago on Forgiveness Sunday, was awarded for his heroism by the Dagestan Republic’s Ministry for National Policy, reports the ministry’s website.
The meeting on March 2 was attended by ministry officials, representatives of the Public Council under the ministry, and the heads of public organizations in the republic.
Opening the meeting, the acting Minister for National Policy Tatiana Gamalei specified the main reason for gathering those present—namely, to award the head of the republic’s Cossack Center in Kizlyar Sergei Presnyakov.
Presnyakov was one of the witnesses of the shooting that took place on February 18, leaving five women dead, and four others injured. There could have been many more victims if not for Presnyakov’s thoughtful and clear actions, closing the doors of the church, with the bulk of the parishioners remaining thus safely inside, and calling the police.
The participants in the meeting honored the memory of the victims, who were buried as martyrs on the territory of the church, with a minute of silence, after which Gamalei awarded Presnyakov with the honorary badge of the Ministry of National Policy “For the Enhancement of Peace and Harmony.”
“The tragedy in Kizlyar was an absolutely unusual and cruel event. For the first time in Dagestan, a terrorist attack was carried out against civilians on the territory of a Christian church. Five elderly women were killed, becoming innocent victims of extremism. However, there could have been many more. Sergei Anatolievich showed incredible courage, showing himself as a real man, a Cossack,” Gamalei noted.
In turn, Presnyakov thanked the ministry for its high evaluation of his actions: “I did what anyone should do who loves his home, family, and motherland.”