Moscow, July 1, 2016
The Russian Orthodox Church has welcomed a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court which yesterday upheld the legality of a shutdown of the "Church of Scientology of Moscow".
"The upholding by the Supreme Court of the legality of the shutdown of the so-called Church of Scientology is seen as an important precedent demonstrating the state's determination not to recognize as religious those organizations that use people's religious feelings for malignant purposes," Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vakhtang Kipshidze told Interfax-Religion.
The ruling in the Scientologists' case is not a breach of religious freedom since "it was proved in court that the very activity of this organization is an affront to human freedom as such," Kipshidze said.
The Russian Orthodox Church regularly comes into contact with people whose membership in totalitarian sects left them deeply wounded spiritually and mentally, and ruined their lives and happiness, the spokesman said. "This is why we see the decision against Scientology as one that is directed at protecting the freedom and dignity of Russian citizens," Kipshidze said.
On June 29 the Russian Supreme Court issued a definitive ruling upholding the shutdown of the "Church of Scientology of Moscow" for incompliance with the requirements for a religious organization.
The lower court held that the activity of the religious organization was rather of a social and for-profit nature, which is inconsistent with the objectives of a religious organization. "Meanwhile, the organization receives unjustified tax preferences from the state," according to the case files.