Moon followers will remain in St. Petersburg

NTV, 20 March 2001
by Konstantin Krylov

A city court in St. Petersburg refused to grant the suit of the procurator and the Department of Justice of the city for the liquidation of the Collegiate Association for Research of Principle (VAIP) that engages in conducting seminars on the philosophy of Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, the "Blagovest-info" news agency reports. The interests of VAIP were represented in court by Galina Krylova and Elena Khudiakova.

As the chairman of the Council of the Unification Church, Konstantin Krylov, reported, the trial in the case for liquidation of the association began in 1995, when suits were filed in Dzerzhinski court of St. Petersburg requesting the liquidation of VAIP and compensation for moral damages. The plaintiffs claimed that VAIP was "debasing the genetic pool of the nation" and "creating 'zombies' out of" and "programming" its members, and they requested a total of 80 billion rubles for establishing rehabilitation centers where psychiatric help could be given "to victims of the moonies."

Psychiatric examinations that were conducted on order of the court with regard to VAIP members established that they are psychologically healthy. Crime specialists studied the literature of the Unification Church "although they did not discover anything illegal" in it. A criminal case regarding illegal activity of VAIP, which was opened on the initiative of the Department of Justice of St. Petersburg, was not pursued and was closed for lack of criminal substance in May 1999.

One of the antisectarian organizations of the city on the Neva, the Committee for the Protection of Family and Individual, dropped its suit. However in November 1999, at its request the city procurator presented a suit for the liquidation of VAIP. The suit for liquidation was joined by the Department of Justice, which denied VAIP without basis reregistration for the duration of the court trial.

On 5 November 1999 a St. Petersburg city court refused to grant the procurator and Department of Justice of the city the request for liquidation of the organization. The court's decision was appealed by the St. Petersburg procurator to the Supreme Court of the Russian federation where it was rejected and returned on 29 May 2000 for review in the St. Petersburg city court. Now the city court has again reviewed the case and again issued a decision to deny the procurator and the St. Petersburg Department of Justice the liquidation of VAIP, this time requiring the Department of Justice to reregister the organization of the followers of Sun Myung Moon.

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