Arrests at Petersburg HQ
On 6 June the headquarters of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg was raided by the FSB, and five members were arrested: the head of the local Church Ivan Matsitsky, the Church’s chief accountant Sahib Aliyev, the chief of the official relations department Anastasia Terentieva, and Church members Galina Shurinova and Konstantsia Yesaulkova.
As The Moscow Times reported on 6 June 2017, the security services accuse the Church of extremism, inciting hatred, and operating an illegal business. Subsequently, RFE/RL reported that on 8 June 2017 a court in St. Petersburg remanded Ivan Matsitsky, the leader of the city’s branch of the Church of Scientology, in detention for two months. As RAPSI reported, on 7 June the court remanded in custody the two managers of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg, Anastasia Terentyeva and Sakhib Aliev; and on 8 June the court ordered the detention of executive director of the Church of Scientology Galina Shurinova, until August 5.
While in 1996 the State Duma adopted a resolution that classified the Church of Scientology as a “destructive religious organization”, in 2015 a court ordered the Church of Scientology’s Moscow operation to be dissolved, on the grounds it could not be considered a religious organization.