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Anti-Muslim Priest Assassinated, Police Blame Pagans

Admittedly, I don’t know much of anything about Rodnovery (Slavic neo-paganism) in Russia, but this article from Interfax has me more than a little perturbed:

Moscow priest Daniil Sysoyev most likely has been killed for his missionary activity among the non-Orthodox Russian population, a source at law enforcement agencies told Interfax.

“He had recently received constant death threats from some extremist organizations. Daniil Sysoyev complained about it several times to the Federal Security Service,” the source said.

Fr. Daniil said he received anonymous phone calls and e-mails promising to “have his guts for garters,” he said.

“Sysoyev received the last threat in early October. Someone called him and said he had been sentenced to a death penalty,” the source said.

Rev. Daniil is known as an experienced theologian who had been in constant dispute with the extremist branches of Islam. He began receiving threats four years ago after holding a public debate with Vyacheslav Polosin, the former Orthodox priest who converted to Islam.

Fr. Daniil might also have been killed by members from the so-called sect of Rodnovers (Slavic Neo-pagans), the source told Interfax.

Investigators are following all lines of inquiry but this theory remains the main one, he said.

This is evidenced by the fact that the perpetrator did not leave the weapon at the crime scene, he said. “Rodnovers are not professional killers, which is why they count every barrel,” he said.

The Rodnovers organization mainly consists of young pagans.

Earlier Rodnovers staged an explosion at one of Moscow’s churches.

Okay, so we have an Orthodox priest, who makes a calling out of aggressively confronting Islam, and whose series of death threats began after his public debate with a Muslim convert, who converted more than 80 Muslims to Christianity and two years ago wrote a book condemning Islam’s treatment of women, who just so happens to turn up dead…

…so the authorities are looking at the local neo-pagan community because the assassin didn’t drop his gun at the crime scene.

Now, granted that this zealot didn’t win any friends amongst the Rodnovers because he was, well, doing what Christians do; i.e., condemning any religion that isn’t their particular brand of Christianity. I’m not sure where that last line in the Interfax article comes from; I can’t find any other reference to the church-destruction incident outside of it (if anyone reading this knows of a corroborating source, please let me know in the comments), but last I looked it was the “religion of peace”(tm) that was so collectively insecure that its members went around beheading infidels and condemning authors because of what they wrote.

I don’t see the Russians as being particularly Politically Correct, though, so this might just be an excuse to deal with a pesky and annoying problem (the Rodnovers). I just hope in their zeal to convict the pagans, the Russian police don’t let the real culprit stay free.

5 thoughts on “Anti-Muslim Priest Assassinated, Police Blame Pagans

  1. Given the endemic racism of the Russian state, the situation in Chechnya and the general situation over there, the fact that they are sugegsting white neo-pagans did it suggests that they think the white neo-pagans did it. I can't imagine for a second that they'd accuse them if they thouight the muslims did it.

  2. Any of those charges ever proven, Eric?

    Not as far as I know.

    From the Times Online article you sited, it appears Daniil Sysoyev made a lot of enemies. And from what little we know about the case, there doesn’t appear to be much reason to put the Rodnovers at the top of the suspects list.

  3. I should add that, even if the Rodnovers are of a violent bent, it doesn't mean they were involved in this killing.

    Especially given the priest's antagonism of Muslims, and the death-threats associated with that activity, the mere fact that the killer didn't drop his gun doesn't seem to amount to a lot of evidence.

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