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Russian Governor Accuses US Secret Service of Using Religion as Cover

The latest headline from Interfax:

An American secret service officer exposed on the staff of a religious organization in Tula

However, the report that follows fails to identity who the supposed “secret service officer” was, which organisation he was supposedly working for, or even what the evidence is. Instead, all we have is an assertion from the governor of Tula that this is indeed the case, and for the hacks of Interfax – who invariably follow the Kremlin line – that’s all that’s needed:

An active officer of the US intelligence has been exposed in an abroad-based religious organization acting in Tula, the press secretary of the Tula diocese, Valery Otstavnykh, had informed Interfax on Thursday.

He said the Tula Governor Vyacheslav Dudka has stated it during a recent conference.

A tediously predictable church quote follows:

‘For many years we have been pointing to the destructive impact that totalitarian sects and cults make on not only individuals and society but also on the state. Well-known Russian Orthodox Church researchers of sects warned society long ago that totalitarian sects and cults became politicized, eager to get into power bodies…In the course of the conference, the governor also spoke of the expansion of religious preachers from the USA, noting that destructive sects carried out their activity under the cover of charities and that their activity not only did mental damage to people but also undermined the state security as foreign missionaries sought to persuade Russian citizens into refusing to participate in elections and army service.’

The Russian Orthodox Church takes the line that any of its competitors are “totalitarian”, and that the state should be used to suppress them; this complements Russian nationalist hostility against “foreign” religions.

But who is Dudka? Details in English are scarce. A March 2005 report notes that

A local duma of Tula District accepted a new gouvernor [sic] Viacheslav Dudka nominated by Vladimir Putin. Dudka is an engeneer [sic] who had been employed in a military complex so far.

Soon after, he received a medal at a military commemoration:

On September the 21-st, on the holiday of birth of God’s Mother and 625-th anniversary of victory of Russian army on Kulikovo field, His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexii II headed the holy liturgy process at St. Sergiy Radonezhskiy temple-monument on the Red hill on Kulikovo field.

…Russian Orthodox Church Primate awarded Tula region governor Vyacheslav Dudka with the order of the holy prince Dimitriy Donskoy, II degree. Then Tula regions squadrons marched past. 

One Response

  1. […] last year, the governor of the Russian region of Tula announced that he had uncovered an unnamed American “secret service officer” working for a religious organisation, and […]

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