Sunday, August 20, 2017

United Russia's Young Guard protests Mormon Church

The youth segment of the ruling United Russia party picketed offices of the Mormon Church in seven cities, including Yekaterinburg, throughout Russia on Thursday.

Other cities that saw picketing include St. Petersburg, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok and Moscow, Interfax reports.

The Young Guard protested outside of the offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the group refers to as a totalitarian sect. The members of the youth group planned to present Mormon leaders with an oversized plane ticket to Washington.

The group decided to hold the action after Russian President Vladimir Putin urged resistance to totalitarian groups operating in the nation.

"Being a public organization, Young Guard wants to call attention to the dubious activity of totalitarian sects, including Mormons," a Young Guard source said, according to Interfax.

In October, the Kremlin brought an end to the operations of the United States Agency for International Development in Russia. The organization allegedly funded multiple Russian civil society organizations in the past 20 years, USA Today reports.

"In this regard, the Young Guard as a social organization intends to attract the attention of questionable activities of totalitarian sects operating in Russia, in particular, the sect of the Mormons," the Young Guard said, according to USA Today.

Ekaterina Stenyakina, a co-chair of Young Guard's coordinating committee, claimed that the Mormon Church was an American sect that returns young Mormons to the U.S. to work for the government.

Elena Nechiporova, the director for the Mormon Church's East Europe area's public affairs department, said that the allegations the Mormon missionaries are foreign agents are without base.