Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Helsinki, August 15 (Interfax) - A number of prominent public and culture figures and human rights activists in Finland have filed suit with the Helsinki police against Teivo Teivainen, a professor of the University of Helsinki, for an attempt to replay a stunt of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot near the Orthodox Assumption Cathedral in Helsinki.

"A criminal case has been initiated under two Finnish Criminal Code articles concerning the violation of religious tolerance rules," Johan Backman, a prominent Finnish human rights activist and an adjunct professor of the University of Helsinki, told Interfax on Wednesday.

"The Finnish Criminal Code bans even an attempt to obstruct a religious service (Article 17-11) and any kind of humiliation of another person's faith in writing or in other forms (17-10). Wearing a mask at a public place and unsanctioned rallies are also prohibited. It is necessary to notify police beforehand in Finland," Backman said.

"Teivainen's punishment now depends on the Finnish Prosecutor General's Office, which makes decisions on pressing charges on anti-religious crimes. If the Prosecutor General's Office presses charges against the professor, he will face up to 2 years' imprisonment," he said.

The suit has been signed by Backman representing the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee, prominent Finnish playwright Jussi Parviainen, musician Tommi Lievemaa, Evgenia Hilden-Jarvenpera, a member of the education committee in the city of Pori, and others.

Teivainen attempted to replay a Pussy Riot stunt at the Assumption Cathedral in Helsinki on August 5. The organizers of the action also brought a can with urine, which they planned to spill in the church. Nice, peaceful urine. Never upset anyone. Not a sign of great disrespect or an instrument of ridicule everywhere. Disgusting. After they were barred from entering the church, Teivainen arranged a rally and performance of Finnish masked girls on the street near the church. The girls were demanding the Pussy Riot members' release and freedom for sexual minorities in Russia. The attempt to stage a 'concert' at the Assumption Cathedral was part of a 'lecture walk' around Helsinki organized by the University of Helsinki and the Finland Museum of Contemporary Art, Backman said. Of course it was part of a university event. Higher education: friend of religion, exemplar of tolerance, bastion of measured reason.

Security at Orthodox churches in Finland has been stepped up now.


  1. i'm a little confused--i think i understand the motivations behind the Russian stunt (not saying i endorse their views, just saying i read enough to at least understand their goals), but is this really saying that a copy-cat event was planned in Finland just to express solidarity with the Russian band members and 'freedom for sexual minorities' in Finland? i admit i'm probably very ignorant of Finnish life, but surely the situation in Finland is not like that of the situation in Russia, is it?


  2. Even if one would believe that the motivation behind Pussy Riot's "performance" was primarily social and political protest against the Russian government and Putin in particular (a claim I do *not* believe), then these Finns do not understand that:

    a) The Finnish Orthodox Church is not under the Church of Russia.

    b) The Finnish Orthodox have no allegiance to the Russian State.

    Protesting the Russian State and Russian Church in a Finnish Orthodox Cathedral is like protesting the German government at an ELCA church.

  3. How dumb are these people? How many seconds of reading would it take to figure out that Holy Dormition is a cathedral of the Finnish Orthodox Church? Eish...

  4. This whole case is pure fiction. There was no urine, no sexual performances. This is part of Mr. Bäckman´s lies and campaign against his own nation and his own country. He also told to Russian media that there are concentration camps in Finland for Russian kids and Finnish authorities have strict orders to take away children from Russian parents. And by the way, mr. Bäckman is not working for any university. And term human rights activist is... well, very questionable. Just a week or so ago Russian media started to realize what this man and his stories really are.