Planting the Seeds of Hate
The idea of individual human rights is still new in Russia, having not existed for many decades. And as our vast country progresses through its difficult period of transition, we are learning that one thing has not changed: there are still some who seek power or profit at the expense of others, for changing the system does not automatically change the individuals within it.
Such is true in the area of freedom of religion. When restrictions on religious belief were lifted, many Russians quickly sought to fill the natural vacuum which was created when the spiritual nature of life had been denied. In our modern and scientific era, with open communication to the rest of the world, many people were interested in examining religious and spiritual questions from a wide range of sources — to find answers that seemed most meaningful within the reality of their everyday lives.
But, as we could well learn from the West, religious diversity brings with it one problem of its own – the intolerant bigot who not only feels that all must believe only as he believes, but who is also willing to use force to suppress or destroy the beliefs of anyone choosing to follow a different path.
One such source of intolerance in Russia today is Alexander Dvorkin — a Russian-born American who returned to Russia in 1990 after 20 years in the United States.