William Yoder, Ph.D.
Prof. Alexander Dvorkin (Moscow), Russia’s best-known and most controversial specialist on sects and the cults, reported in an interview with the author on 24 August that he has been victimized by a hackers. Occasionally, Russian-language mailings from the anonymous «firstname.lastname@example.org» address have been distributed on nearly a daily basis. The Orthodox professor explained: «I was a hippie in 1974 and at that time many of us claimed mental instability in order to avoid the draft.» After a month in a psychiatric hospital (which was standard procedure), he was recognized as unstable and unfit to serve in the army. Practically all the «revelations» these hackers are now distributing stem from that hospital stay. Someone had illegally obtained access to these hospital documents and forged some. Dvorkin emigrated to the US via Italy in 1977.
These attacks began in April; hacking Dvorkin’s address lists has made it possible for the perpetrators to send mailings to all persons with whom he has contact. Several anonymous «anti-Dvorkin» sites have appeared that publish new «revelations», and a shower of articles with false additions have been published in over 30 newspapers and magazines and on dozens of Internet sites. Dvorkin believes the guilty party to be the Scientology organization. He notes though that Russian Pentecostals and Hare Krishnas have also been passing on this information via social networks. The pressure has included anonymous e-mails threatening to publish further material unless the 59-year-old «retires quickly and quietly». He is constantly bugged by phone calls from unknown people posing as «journalists». «I have essentially chosen to ignore these attacks», the professor assured. A few items have appeared though on his website: «iriney.ru».
An opinion voiced not only by the author: Such efforts are clearly both illegal and immoral and have no place in the practice of the followers of Christ, even if they do not share Dvorkin’s theological convictions.
Alexander Dvorkin revealed in further conversations that he hardly fits the stereotype of a rabid Russian nationalist. He described himself as a «liberal conservative» interested more in the church than in political affairs. He assured that he would «need to be crazy» in order to participate in Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s nationalist «Liberal Democratic Party of Russia». Dvorkin describes Alexander Prokhanov, chief editor of the nationalist weekly «Zavtra», as a «mystic Stalinist» with only nominal ties to Orthodoxy. (The brother of the chief editor’s grandfather was Ivan Prokhanov (1869-1935), a founder of Russia’s Evangelical-Christian and Baptist movements.)
Dvorkin regards himself as a monarchist but admits that his monarchism is purely theoretical. «I believe that any form of government is essentially evil, but the worst evil in our fallen world is no government at all. I am convinced that of all forms of government, the hereditary monarchy has proven to be the least evil. But circumstances change and some things from the past cannot be brought back to life. To dream about the restoration of monarchy in Russia would be utopian.»
He insisted that much of Russian media remains in the hands of liberals. He does have vehement reservations regarding Pentecostals and Charismatics and believes Russian Protestants would have a more secure future if they distanced themselves from the, as he calls it, «neo-Pentecostal movement».
Smolensk, 2 August 2014