MP Critic to Seek Asylum in Estonia

As reported about a month ago, a Karelian internet critic of the MP was being prosecuted for criticism of the MP. The charge was ‘inciting religious hatred’.  Russian ‘hate crime’ laws, (not unlike all hate crime laws) are notoriously vague, and open to political interpretation; that is, they can be used almost anyway you like.

Maxim Yefimov, who generated controversy a few months ago by writing a blog post title, “Karelia is tired of priests,” is now seeking asylum abroad.  The apparently controversial section of the post read, “”The thinking part of the society understands that the church is a power
party. Just like A United Russia, ROC fools people around and tells how
good we live. Total corruption, oligarchy and the absolute power of the
security services are linked to the rebirth of the ROC,” as well as calling members of the MP ‘spawns’ (a strange name, of sorts, spawns of what?).

Apparently this was enough for the local Karelian prosecutor to charge him with hate crime.  According to Dmitry Vas’ko from a regional human rights commission “the investigators were
especially interested in one phrase published in the article – the one
in which Efimov calls the religious people “spawns”.”

Efimov claims he had no intention of inciting hatred against religious people and that the complaint, far from being brought by religious folks, was contrived by the local prosecutor.

So, now facing a $10 thousand dollar find, Mr. Yefimov finds himself seeking asylum. There was also the specter of being sent to the insane ‘asylum’ as a punitive measure (something which, interestingly enough, the Moscow Times discovered was still happening in some cases in Russia).

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