Blogger accused of criticizing Russian church seeks asylum in Poland
27.07.12 12:48 By Ekaterina Vinokurova, edited by Karina Ayvazova
Maxim Efimov Photo: maxim-efimov.livejournal.com
An opposition blogger from Russia's northwestern region of Karelia has asked for political asylum in Poland. Maxim Efimov faces criminal prosecution and compulsory treatment in a mental hospital.
On Thursday, Efimov wrote "I am out of Russia!" in his blog after arriving in Poland via Ukraine.
In Russia Efimov is being prosecuted under the article "extremism." He has been accused of publishing information "aimed at abusing a person or a group of persons based on confessional lines."
The criminal case against Efimov was opened in April 2012 after he published a post in his blog called "Karelia is tired of priests" in which the blogger criticized the Russian Orthodox Church
One such criticism saidthat "Karelian capital residents are discontent with the church" and Efimov then tried to explain why. "The thinking part of the society understands that the church is a power party. Just like "United Russia," ROC fools people and tells them how good we live. Total corruption, oligarchy, and the absolute power of security services are linked to the rebirth of the ROC," Efimov wrote. He also said that churches are built using federal budget money, and the ROC uses buildings built for kindergartens, which are badly needed in Russia.
Investigators decided to put Efimov under compulsory treatment in a mental hospital. The blogger then started to hide from investigators and was put on a federal wanted list.
The route to the European Union via Ukraine has become popular among political immigrants from Russia.
A month ago, opposition activist Alexander Dolmatov left Russia and arrived in Holland after fearing prosecution in the Bolotnaya riot case.
Poland is usually a destination for political migrants from Belarus. Russians usually prefer the UK, Germany, Holland, France and the US.
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