Photo of Dianetics, by L. Ron HubbardThe Church of Scientology has found the going tough, the last few months. A court defeat in France, exposées based on accounts by ex-Scientologists, published in more than one venue, have plagued the so-called “religion” of a deceased sci-fi pulp author, once championed by Hollywood stars. Its latest setback is a bit of a drastic one; Scientology has been banned in Russia. That’s right … the whole country! The Moscow Times relates the story (locally cached version):

Works by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard will be added to the country’s list of extremist literature for “undermining the traditional spiritual values of the citizens of the Russian Federation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said Wednesday.

The ruling — initiated by transport prosecutors in the Siberian city of Surgut and Khanty-Mansiisk customs officers — is the latest use of the hotly debated law on extremism to target systems of belief that are not traditional in Russia.

The government review of Scientology was triggered in Surgut, Siberia:

Prosecutors said they intercepted 28 individual titles, including books, audio and video recordings by Hubbard that were sent to residents in Surgut from the United States. The materials were sent for study to “psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists,” who determined that they should not be distributed in Russia, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement [Russian-language link].

The Russian government’s concerns are at least partly ideological in nature:

According to the research requested by prosecutors, the seized works contained “ideas justifying violence in general and in particular any means of opposing critics of Scientology,” the statement said. “The works have clear as well as hidden calls for social and religious hatred” and call for hindering the work of the state.

These particular objections don’t make a lot of sense to me, but then, this is Russia after all, where everything the government does is cloaked behind language of this sort … I don’t presume this is an accurate explanation of what they truly think about Scientology.

Hat tip: Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Photo credit: puck-man.

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