Much has been written about the struggle of the Hindu minority in Russia. Interestingly, the number of Hindus in Russia is 14 times more than the number of Indian citizens in Russia. In fact, almost 140,000 Russians call themselves Hindus. However, in Russia, over the last two decades, Orthodox Christianity has become somewhat synonymous with Russian nationalism, allowing the Russian Orthodox Church’s extremist fringes to actively persecute Hindus.
Six years ago is when the spotlights were turned on to this existing crisis in Russia, after reports emerged suggesting how a radical Christian organisation led by Orthodox Christian ‘anti-cult’ activist Alexander Dvorkin had executed a systematic smear campaign against Prasun Prakash, the Director, Public Affairs, Centre for Conservation of Indian Culture, of a Hindu Ashram in Russia, ‘Shri Prakash Dham’.
In the year 2019, Prasun Prakash had reached out to PM Modi for help, narrating how the radical Christian group led by Alexander Dvorkin was not only harassing, spreading fake propaganda and threatening but also carrying physical attacks on the Hindu devotees of Shri Prakash Dham, impeding their activities.
We at OpIndia have closely followed and reported the issue. On January 18, we wrote the story of a Russian businessman by the name of Denis Stepanov, who had illustrated a very unsettling aspect of Dvorkin and his organization. Denis had in the year 2016 come in close contact with the Hindu scriptures that are available in Russian. After that at the end of the same year, he decided to take on the life and path of a devoted Hindu. He had shared how, since then, he was being mentally and physically traumatized and pressurised by Dvorkin and his people to change his religion.
Dvorkin is a Russian anti-cult activist who labels everything except Orthodox Christianity as sects and cults. He is infamous for slandering and attacking everything that is Hindu and even in the ballpark of Hinduism. In the year 2011, he was the one to initiate the ban on the Bhagavad Gita. He had then called the Hare Krishna movement, which was legalized in Russia in 1988, a “totalitarian sect” that had no ties with mainstream Hinduism. More recently at the beginning of the year 2017, Dvorkin’s effigy was burnt in front of the Russian Embassy in Delhi for attacking the family of Prakash. The matter was also discussed in the walls of the UN and the OSCE.
Hindus being targeted in Russia
Speaking of his organisation’s modus operandi, Alexander Dorkin and his goons first target the Hindus in Russia, then spread rumours and false news against them. They then begin harassing the Hindus by filing police complaints based on the false allegations propagated by Dorkin and his goons. He then compels his mentally torn victims to give up Hinduism in order to weed out of the quandary.
OpIndia has now got in touch with one other such victims named Sergei Kevshin. Sergei is a Russian citizen who has been a Hindu devotee since 2006. Sergei came to know about Dvorkin’s forum on the internet where he writes slanderous statements about Hinduism, defaming Hindu god and goddess and slandering the religion.
He has allegedly written things like all Hindu Gods and Goddesses are demons, Hindu meditation is hypnosis, Hinduism is not a religion, it’s a wild cult, Karma is the law of evil, Mira Bai is sectarian, the Hindu idea of God is evil, Shrimad Bhagavatam is not at all holy, so on so forth.
Concerning this, Sergei has written numerous complaints against Dvorkin, following which the Russian authorities have in 2020, also conducted some investigations against the anti-cult activist. Numerous investigations are still going on. However, Dvorkin has been evading the investigations and questioning. Now, Dvorkin has filed a counter-complaint against Sergei Kevshin.
Troubled by the harassment, Sergei recently uploaded a video on his Youtube channel where he asks the international Hindu community, especially his Hindu brothers and sisters in India to support his fight against injustice perpetrated by Alexander Dvorkin.
Speaking to OpIndia, the Russian highlighted that Dvorkin has been after him to evade the investigations going on against him. He has been trying to mislead the Russian authorities against him and his beliefs, alleged Sergei.
Sharing the link of the video and his social media handles, Sergei appealed that if anyone has any sort of information or proof that could aid the Russian authorities in their ongoing investigation against Dvorkin, then they could directly send it to him on his social media handles or through email.
Sergei began his appeal by introducing himself and briefing the viewers about the plight of Hindus in Russia. “Hello everyone. My name is Sergei Kevshin. I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. I have been a devout Hindu since the year 2006. In Russia, there are only 140,000 Hindus and I’m one of them. I appeal for help to my Hindu brothers and sisters in India and worldwide, through this video. How would you react to the fact that there is someone who calls our Hindu gods and goddesses evil entities? How would you react to the fact that there is someone who calls Hindus primitive and wild people?
He vociferated that Alexander Dvorkin is one such persecutor who, for the last 20 years has been systematically slandering and attacking Hinduism in his lectures, articles and interviews. Alexander Dvorkin is not only insulting Hindus in Russia and worldwide but also threatening them. Dvorkin is forcing Hindus in Russia to leave Hinduism or otherwise be prepared to get out of Russia and face other negative consequences, said Sergei.
He continued that he has filed numerous complaints against Alexander Dvorkin with the Russian authorities, who are conducting their investigations. However, Dvorkin has been fleeing the investigation.
In his attempt to safeguard himself, Alexander Dvorkin has instead been writing baseless and false complaints against Sergei, said the disconcerted Russian. “By doing this he is creating misunderstandings with regards to the Hindus in Russia and running away from the investigations of the authorities. But I have complete faith that I will get justice for myself and other Russian Hindus because the truth is on my side.”
“During one of my interactions with the Russian authorities, I was told that in order to make Dvorkin’s case foolproof, more documents concerning his radical actions would be required. Saying this he appealed to all Hindus around the world, especially in India to pass on any information they might be having against Dvorkin.
“My dear Hindu brothers and sisters all over the world. If you have any information on Alexander Dvorkin or his organisations than please send it to me via email or my social sites – firstname.lastname@example.org. This would be a huge victory for Hindus in Russia and all over the world. Only united we can make the ardent hater of Hinduism and radical Alexander Dvorkin legally responsible for his actions carried out with the aim of slandering and attacking Hinduism and Russian Hindus. Namaste and Jai Shri Ram!, said Sergei in his video appeal.