ST. PETERSBURG, March 16 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) - The Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg leader Ivan Matsitsky charged with extremism and illegal business operations has been returned in detention, the United press service of St. Petersburg courts has told RAPSI.

The case against Matsitsky and other defendants, including the organization’s chief accountant Sakhib Aliyev,  executive director Galina Shurinova, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva, and her assistance Constance Yesaulkova.

For a long time Matsisky and Aliyev have been in detention while Shurinova and Terentyeva have been held under house arrest and Yesaulkova has been released on travel restrictions. In February 2020, a court released Matsisky, Terentyeva and Aliyev and imposed a restrictive order on them; Shurinova was freed on travel restrictions. 

Thus, a year later, Matsitsky was again placed in detention until June 14 because of numerous violations of the restrictive order.

In March 2018, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders’ actions, the FSB press-service said at that time.

According to investigators, from 2013 to 2016, the organization received over 276 million rubles (about $5 million) for rendering its services. However, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg has not been incorporated under the law, an FSB representative said in court earlier.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.