Moscow, August 28, Interfax - A movement called Narodnaya Volya (which translates as "people's will") has posted a statement on the Internet claiming liability for sawing down several crosses in two Russian regions on August 25.
"The cutting down of the Russia Orthodox Church crosses in the village of Smelovsky, Verkhneuralsky District of the Chelyabinsk Region and in the city district Varavino-Faktoriya in Arkhangelsk is part of our operation against the Russian Orthodox Church called Krestopoval and was carried out by the military wing of our Movement, the flight combat units Neizvestnyye [the Unknown]," Narodnaya Volya said on Facebook.
According to earlier reports, unknown individuals on August 25 sawed down three crosses installed at the entrance of the village of Smelovsky, Verkhneuralsky District of the Chelyabinsk Region, in July 2012. Unknown individuals also sawed down and cut into pieces a cross in the city district Varavino-Faktoriya in Arkhangelsk
The attacks on "Russian Orthodox Church signs are a response to the statement on the creation of Orthodox militia, the Russian Orthodox Church's reprisal of the Russian girls from Pussy Riot, and the insult by D. Smirnov of prominent Russian revolutionary movement leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin," Narodnaya Volya said in its press release.
"We demand the immediate release of the Pussy Riot members. Attacks against the Russian Orthodox Church will continue until our demands are fully met," the document says.
On August 17, activists from the feminist movement FEMEN sawed down a cross in central Kiev in support of the Pussy Riot women, who had been sentenced to two years in a penal colony for their stunt in the Moscow cathedral of Christ the Savior. The cross had been installed in memory of victims of Stalin repression.
Narodnaya Volya called on "all healthy forces in Russian society" to "leave the Russian Orthodox Church," which, according to the press release, "has no relation to Orthodox faith." "Create the New Orthodox Church, which will not be related to the Russian Orthodox Church," the press release says.