Russian lawmakers seek to fast track anti-vandalism bill after Satanic church arson

A senior member of the Lower House Committee for Culture has urged her colleagues to speed up the work on anti-vandalism bill after several incidents including a reportedly Satanism-related church fire.

“The committee has done all that it should. We have written an expert assessment of the bill and now, so to say, wait for the bill to be put on vote. Of course, we would prefer it to take place as soon as possible, for the quickest passing of the motion,” first deputy chair of the Culture Committee, MP Yelena Drapeko said in comments with RIA Novosti.

She added, however, that the original bill was drafted by the Committee on State Building and Legislative Work and the Culture Committee was simply helping to develop it.

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The current draft of the motion orders civil responsibility for public desecration of various works of culture and for attempts to obstruct movie or theater shows. The maximum punishment mentioned in the document amounts to a fine of 100,000 roubles (slightly over $1500) or up to 200 hours of correctional labor.

The comment came soon after Russian mass media reported about a number of attacks on the countrys cultural heritage. These included the incident in St. Petersburg in which several people were detained while attempting to set up a barbecue grill on the monument to the city founder Peter the Great.

Another attack on the Russian cultural heritage took place in the North Russian region of Karelia where a fire completely destroyed a historic 18th century wooden church. Investigators believe that the fire could have been caused by arson and they have already established a primary suspect – a local teen described by neighbors as a “devil worshipper.”

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