A “ISKCON leader” was arrested in Novouralsk. The evidence of his connection with “Ukrainian Nazis”: a swastika (which is however a common Hindu symbol).
by Massimo Introvigne
Claims that “cults” work together with the Ukrainian intelligence to conduct sabotage and terrorist attacks inside the territory of the Russian Federation continue unabated, despite being inherently ridiculous.
A recent incident happened in Novouralsk, a “closed town”—i.e., a city where movements are restricted due to the presence of military facilities— in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, in the Urals region. The federal security service FSB, the successor of the Soviet KGB, raided the home of a man it described as “the chief Hare Krishna” of the city. The man was identified as a member and, allegedly, local leader of the ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement.
The FSB claimed to have fooled at the last minute an ISKCON plan to set fire to Novouralsk’s Military Conscription Bureau, where soldiers are conscripted for the war in Ukraine. The FSB then launched a national appeal to collect evidence and testimonies of a broader Hare Krishna plan to sabotage conscription.
The FSB also released a video with “suspiciously looking” bottles, claiming they were about to be used for Molotov cocktails, although they look like regular bottles of water.
The smoking gun proving that the “ISKCON leader” works for the “Ukrainian Nazis” is, according to the FSB, a carved swastika they found in his home. However, the Swastika has been used as a Hindu symbol for millennia, well before the Nazis adopted it, something the FSB agents were probably not aware of.
It is also the case that Nazi swastikas and Hindu swastikas are normally presented with a different inclinations, but this is perhaps too subtle for the average FSB agent.
These fantastic accusations are obviously groundless, but they result in people being arrested and in media spreading hatred against both Ukraine and the “cults” it is accused to employ as its fifth column in Russia.
Update (March 23, 2023). ISKCON, popularly known as the Hare Krishna movement, contacted Bitter Winter to clarify that, although he had some contacts with the movement years ago, the man arrested in Novouralsk was not a member of ISKCON.