2012-08-22 10:01:00

Russian Church considering security measures after Pussy Riot-related vandalism

Moscow, August 22, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church's liaison officer for the armed forces and law enforcement agencies said on Tuesday that he planned to officially propose stronger security measures for church buildings after various churches have been vandalized in an apparent protest against the conviction of three members of the Pussy Riot punk band.

"I think that the hierarchy will react to it positively, I have no doubt about this," Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov told the Interfax-Religion in reference to a report that he said he planned to write.

He was not overly optimistic, however, about the effectiveness of the security measures he was going to suggest.

"Spiritual terrorism is just as difficult to forecast as ordinary terrorism. A lot of measures are being taken and special technologies are being designed, but acts of terrorism still take place. Moreover, they are usually carried out by people who are psychologically unstable, such as Tolokonnikova and Co, and their conduct is sometimes pretty hard to foresee," he said.

He was referring to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three Pussy Riot singers who were sentenced to two years in prison on August 17 for a song in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in February in which they asked the Virgin Mary to "throw out" Vladimir Putin, who was then prime minister and running for president.

After the three musicians were convicted, churches in Pskov, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Baltiysk were vandalized, and Pussy Riot supporters tried to hold protests in Orthodox churches in Helsinki and Vienna and sawed off part of a cross standing in the center of Kiev.

Security measures that are being pondered in the Moscow Patriarchate include seeking help from Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.