Russian Activist in Dispute with Orthodox Church Attacked

MOSCOW, December 26 (RIA Novosti) – The head of a rights group who called earlier this year for the excommunication of the head of Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church was hospitalized on Wednesday after a brutal attack, police said.

Mikhail Anshakov, the head of Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, was attacked in central Moscow by a man wielding a crowbar. He suffered a neck injury and a broken hand, the watchdog said in a statement.

Anshakov’s injuries meant he was unable to comment on the attack as of Wednesday afternoon, when contacted by RIA Novosti.

Anshakov accused in the fall Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill of “trading in the House of God” over the presence of a tire-changing service and a dry-cleaners, among other commercial activities, at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in downtown Moscow.

This autumn, he appealed to the state prosecutor to investigate what he said was the inappropriate use of the cathedral by the Christ the Savior Cathedral Fund, which oversees trade at the church.

The appeal was unsuccessful, and the fund’s head Vasily Poddevalin, accused Anshakov of libel, but he was cleared by a Moscow court in October.

Poddevalin however, lodged another complain against Anshakov on Monday, accusing him of embezzlement and fraud in connection with a charity for disabled people and a now-defunct business. The rights watchdog called the allegations “absurd.”

The Christ the Savior Cathedral is where anti-Putin punks Pussy Riot carried out a controversial protest in February.


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