Russian on trial for 'insulting the feelings of believers' by denying the existence of God

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Lenta.ru reports that Viktor Krasnov is facing criminal prosecution for "insulting the feelings of believers":

In the Autumn of 2014, during an argument in the comments [on the 'VKontakte' site], Krasnov denied the existence of God, and called the Bible "a collection of Jewish fairy tales." After this, two participants in the discussion complained to the police.

This led to Krasnov being placed for a month into a psychiatric hospital to determine whether he was mentally competent (he was found to be so). "Linguists at the North Caucasus center of judicial expertise concluded that Krasnov's words weren't insulting based on a person's religion, but could be insulting to the feelings of believers." The Lenta.ru story also reports that, in July,

The online community "There is no God" on "VKontakte" was blocked by decision of a court, on the grounds of insulting the feelings of believers. The cause of the block was the depiction of nude women, as well as of religious symbols.

The page was unblocked after the objected-to materials were removed, but Orthodox activists sought to criminally prosecute the founder of the online community. For more, in English, see NBC News (Alexey Eremenko).