I need to share some sad and disturbing news: the Russian government is persecuting some of our fellow Pastafarians.
The head of Russia’s Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Mikhail Iosilevich, has been arrested. His computers, phones, and passport have been seized, and access to his bank accounts have been blocked.
Mikhail has been charged with working with a democratic opposition group, Open Russia, that was outlawed by Putin’s government. He is being investigated for allegedly hosting lectures for independent election monitors, held at the premises of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, last month.
A number of “witnesses to these activities” have been targeted for investigation by the State. They have been questioned, and have had their homes searched.
One of the associates who was targeted was Mikhail’s friend Irina Slavina, a journalist and activist. Her home was raided by government investigators and armed police in the early morning a few weeks ago. Tragically, it was the last straw for Irina. She had felt bullied by the oppressive authoritarian government for years. The day after her home was raided, she died after settting herself on fire in front of the headquarters of the Interior Ministry, a final act of protest. She was 47 years old.
I am in contact with Mikhail’s people in Russia. They have asked for our fellow Pastafarians to spread the word of these events. With international attention, it will be more difficult for the authoritarian government to unjustly imprison Mikhail and subject Pastafarians and free-thinkers to intimidation and persecution.
Below are a few articles that explain what has been happening.
- This BBC article is about Irina’s last few days and the events that caused her to take her own life. Here.
- This The Times article explains about Mikhail’s recent arrest. Here
Please spread the word if you can, and let’s figure out what we can do to help.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster strongly condemns the intimidation and persecution of Pastafarians and free-thinkers.