Two members of the Russian Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster fined a combined $400 over a “pasta procession” dispersed by Moscow police in August.
Eight followers of the tongue-in-cheek religion were charged over the Pastafarian rally, which had been refused by the Moscow City Hall, which said there were no laws regulating “pasta processions.” The activists claim they simply tried to hold a party in an outdoor cafe after the refusal, but were dispersed by police who were alerted by hardline Christian activists.
It is interesting that the case was reviewed by Moscow Judge Yelena Stashina, one of 18 Russian officials that the US White House confirmed in April to be blacklisted in the United States over their alleged role in the fate of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was detained on questioned charges and died in custody in 2009. Stashina let the pastafarians off with a fine below the legal minimum, as the usual penalty for individuals found guilty of unsanctioned rallies is 10,000 to 20,000 rubles ($300 to $600).
According to Amir Husainov, a vicar of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the fined activists are not going to appeal, as boring legal proceedings go against their principles to have fun and be happy.
The Russian branch of the Pastafarian movement began gathering a following in Russia last summer. The group, which frequently makes fun of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, came under fire by Christian conservatives, including controversial St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov. However, Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said after the August rally that “a joke must be met with a joke.”
Author: Julia Alieva