After its leader’s arrest, the Ministry of Justice is now seeking a “final solution” destroying the New Creation Church.
by Massimo Introvigne
Bitter Winter reported in March that the Kirovsky District Court of Omsk, Russia, sentenced Pastor Stanislav Moskvitin on March 12 to one and a half years to be spent in a penal colony. Moskvitin had been arrested on July 18, 2021. He is the pastor of the Apostolic Center Church “New Creation,” which is part of the Russian Council of Christian Evangelical Churches.
As Bitter Winter had reported when the trial started in September 22, New Creation was founded in 2014 and registered in 2016. It is part of a network of Russian-speaking conservative Evangelical churches established in Russia, the Baltic States, and the United States. They supported in the past Putin and Patriarch Kirill’s criticism of Western LGBT activism. However, they were denounced as “cults” by the Russian Orthodox Church because they proselytize and convert Orthodox believers to their Protestant faith.
The verdict was based on Article 239, no.1, which punishes “harming the health” of Russian citizens. It was an interesting decision because it regarded “brainwashing” or “hypnotizing” followers as a health-damaging practice Moskvitin was guilty of. Brainwashing is regarded by a vast majority of scholars of religious movements as a non-existing practice based on a pseudo-scientific theory, used as a tool to discriminate about unpopular minorities.
Russian media have now reported that the Ministry of Justice has conducted an inspection of Moskvitin’s church and has come to the conclusion that it should be liquidated.
The inspection was carried out from March 15 to 17 with the help of anti-cult “experts,” who concluded that the pastor systematically used “brainwashing” to “hypnotize” his followers.
Liquidation of the Apostolic Center Church “New Creation” has been proposed, and is expected to follow shortly, creating yet another casualty of the Russian anti-cult movement, Russia’s blatant disregard for religious liberty, and “brainwashing,” a theory that is not more scientific or respectable than flat earth hypotheses or other debunked fallacies.