After expressing his lack of belief in God on social media, a Russian man was arrested and charged with “offending the feelings of believers”. Victor Krasnov is now on trial and facing up to a year in prison for writing things like “there is no God” and “the Bible is a collection of Jewish fairy tales” during an online discussion on the Russian social networking website Vk.com.
Shortly after the discussion in 2014, Krasnov and his mother began to receive anonymous threats. Then, in the fall of 2015, a couple of his friends who were part of the discussion – Dmitry D., 24, and Alexander K., 23 – pressed charges against him, claiming that they were representing the interests of all Orthodox Christians in Russia. The Investigative Committee (similar to the FBI) interrogated Krasnov for over a month, during which he was also subjected to psychiatric evaluations. He was declared sane, but the Committee decided that although he did not directly insult any individual, his comments did hurt the feelings of religious people.
Offending the feelings of believers was made a criminal offence in the nation in 2012, after punk band Pussy Riot’s blasphemous performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. For this reason, Krasnov is now being tried in court in his hometown of Stavropol in southern Russia.