A member of the Duma has asked the Prosecutor General to ban Satanism as “extremist.”
by Massimo Introvigne
After Russian anti-cultists accused the U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence of infiltrating criminal Satanist “cults” into Russia, and Putin himself described the West as dominated by Satanism, Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov has been requested to ban Satanist groups as “extremists” in the whole country.
The request is included in a letter sent by Duma member Aleksey Chepa, of the leftist pro-Putin party A Just Russia-For Truth. The news has been reported by Moscow’s Institute of Religion and Policy. The proposal has been mentioned approvingly on the website of Archpriest Alexander Novopashin, the Vice President of the Russian national anti-cult umbrella organization Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Cultic Studies (РАЦИРС/RATsIRS), later shortened as “Center for Religious Studies.”
“Religious extremism” is a broad category in Russia, which goes beyond violence or advocacy for violence. Are regarded as “extremists” the groups or publications that advocate the superiority of their doctrines above those of “other religions,” by which Russian “experts” and courts mean mostly the Russian Orthodox Church. This was the main reason used to “liquidate” the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were accused of presenting their religious doctrines as superior to all others. Chepa reminds the Prosecutor that a Russian version of “The Satanic Bible” by the founder of the American Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey, was banned as “extremist” by the Oktyabrsky District Court of St. Petersburg on October 19, 2021.
However, Satanism per se is not banned in Russia. Chepa believes that banning Satanist groups is urgent because “the U.S. State Department is using the ideology of Satanism as a tool for fulfilling its tasks,” including undermining Russian efforts in Ukraine.
Chepa accuses the U.S. Department of State of infiltrating into Ukraine and Russia “The Satanic Bible” and LaVey’s Church of Satan, although it seems he attributes to the Church of Satan symbols and activities of the Satanic Temple, a rival and unconnected organization.
Both the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple are not engaged in “the worship of evil” nor in criminal activities, contrary to what Chepa claims. They are both examples of a “rationalist” Satanism, where Satan is used as a metaphor for the full development of the human potential, which members of these groups claim is prevented by Judeo-Christian ideas of sin and guilt. The idea that the Church of Satan or the Satanic Temple may cooperate with the U.S. Department of State in international political campaigns, anti-Russian or otherwise, may only be regarded as ridiculous by scholars of contemporary Satanism.