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Russia’s ineffective Scientology crackdown includes smearing foreign leaders

[Andrej Kiska with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2016]

Rod Keller cuts through some of the propaganda coming out of Russia to get a little closer to what’s actually happening there.

Slovakian President Andrej Kiska announced this week that he would not run for re-election. The office is mostly ceremonial, but Kiska has been perhaps the government official most trusted by the public since he took office in 2014. He stands as an opponent of Russian attempts to expand its influence over former Soviet states and Warsaw Pact nations, including its 2014 invasion of eastern Ukraine.

And maybe that’s why Kiska’s been the subject of a propaganda campaign coming from Russia that accuses him of secretly being a member of the Church of Scientology.

Kiska isn’t the only one. Former Ukraine Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenyuk was also accused by Russian sources of being a secret Scientologist — a claim we debunked here by talking to a family member in 2014.

Spreading rumors about Scientology involvement is just one result from Russia’s crackdown on Scientology in recent years. Russian officials have raided the Moscow and St. Petersburg orgs several times in 2017 and 2018, but Scientology remains strong there. At last count there are 38 missions and four Narconon drug rehab centers in Russia. Russians drive Scientology’s recruitment efforts in neighboring countries like Ukraine and Latvia. If the Russian government intends to eliminate Scientology completely, it is taking a long time to do so.



[St. Petersburg org announced its 368th Clear this week]

[Volunteer Minister event in last week in Yekaterinburg]

[Narconon Standard continues to operate in Moscow]

In the meantime, Scientology remains a weapon in its attempts to discredit pro-Western leaders in Europe. The evidence that Kiska was ever a Scientologist is thin. In the 2014 election his opponent, Prime Minister Robert Fico, pointed to the publisher of Kiska’s book Take Life Into Your Own Hands as evidence of his involvement. That publisher, Ladislav Pavlí, is a Scientologist and Executive Director of the Hubbard College of Administration Slovakia. Kiska sued Fico for making the accusations, which was then taken as further evidence that he would use the courts to silence an opponent, as a Scientologist would. The evidence against Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk was equally strained, with claims that while visiting his sister in California he secretly met with David Miscavige, joined the Sea Org, and ascended to OT6 before returning to Ukraine. (His sister’s daughter denied to the Bunker that her family had any involvement in Scientology at all.)


[Ladislav Pavlík is the publisher of a book by Kiska, posing with Scientology production statistics graphs]

[The Hubbard College of Administration Slovakia operates out of this house in Košice]

While Russia has been using Scientology in smear campaigns, the Moscow org is struggling to have charges against five of its members dropped, and to re-open the doors. News site JACTA reported last month that the doors of the org had been sealed and the staff had abandoned the building. A photo taken on Friday shows the seals have been removed and the lights are on.


[Seals on the door of the Moscow Ideal Org]

[Moscow Ideal Org, May 18, 2018]

[Moscow Dianetics Day event was held on My 11]

The org’s YouTube channel proclaims its innocence in typical Scientology fashion – through the use of experts. In this video the org attempts to counter charges that Scientology is like psychiatry, but harms the mental health of its members.


Does Scientology cause harm to humans’ health? Some anti-cult websites stated that Scientology harms the physical and mental well being of humans. What do experts say about it and what are the real facts?

No proof of the above statement exists. Moreover, doctor of medical science Victor Kagan, who is recognized in Russia and abroad as a leading authority in the field of psychology, author of a first study of autism among kids and author of the first books about it for doctors and parents, conducted a comparative study into Scientology. Victor (Yefimovich) Kagan, is a winner of an annual intellectual literature award “silver century” of 2009. Member of the writers guild of St. Petersburg and author of more than 500 publications in Russian and foreign press, including 30 books.

He concluded that when comparing procedures in Scientology with psychotherapy, even though the two share some superficial similarities, the two differ greatly in their processes, their goals, and reasons. Based on this, Scientology procedures can be recognized as not having a medical character, but a religious one. Therefore fear of medical complications due to spiritual procedures is not only inappropriate, but also doesn’t have any factual or probatory basis.

Another expert, Dr. Ekaterina Elkabian, doctor of philosophy, member of European Association of Religious Studies, author of more than 530 scientific studies (papers) one of which is Encyclopedia-dictionary of Russia’s religions. She’s also a director of the Central of religious studies research called Religio-Polis, Moscow.

She wrote in her expert paper that when the DA of Podmoskovie asked for records of cases in which citizens required psychiatric help, it came to light that such records (or facts) do not exist. Such records of citizens that suffered in any way due to application of Scientology of LRH could not be presented because they do not exist.


[Scientology mission in Murmansk]

Russia’s raids and charges against Scientology appear designed to keep the organization unpopular with the public without destroying it completely. With the exit of Andrej Kiska from office Russian propaganda will have to find a new target among pro-Western officials if it intends to use the tool of Scientology again. Scientology has a very effective intelligence apparatus, but against the Russian government the church appears to be outmatched. We expect action will be taken against the Moscow Ideal Org a few of times per year, but the missions and Narconons will continue to be officially ignored.

— Rod Keller


Make your plans now!


Wow, we’re only a little more than a month out, and Chee Chalker is working hard to make sure things are going to run smoothly at this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. As in past years, we’re looking forward to meeting readers of the Bunker, culminating in Saturday night’s main event.

The biggest difference this year is that our Saturday night event is separate from that evening’s dinner. Chee is setting up an inexpensive pizza dinner that you don’t need to pay for ahead of time, after which we’ll walk over to the theater where our event, hosted by Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte, will take place. Because it’s a separate event, we’re asking that you pay $10 each to get into the Saturday night event, which will help us recoup what the Bunker paid for the venue. (We have never made a penny on our HowdyCon meetups, we only try to break even.)

Please email your proprietor (tonyo94 AT gmail) in order to reserve your spot for Saturday night’s main event. Seating is limited, and we’re going to have some really interesting people on stage and they may make a few announcements that you don’t want to miss.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,120 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,723 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 266 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 154 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,329 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,103 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,877 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,223 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,789 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,457 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,717 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,757 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,469 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 995 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,084 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,224 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,544 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,519 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 875 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,177 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,283 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,686 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,558 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,140 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,645 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,889 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,998 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on May 20, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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