Yekaterinburg report from Gerry Armstrong

Moscow, Russia
December 12, 2002

 From: Gerry Armstrong (
 Subject: From Russia with Aeroflot 
 Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
 Date: 2002-12-19 13:00:59 PST 

We'd been invited to Ekaterinburg by Archbishop Vincent of the Ekatrinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church to participate in a three-day conference on dangerous cults sponsored by the Church, with the blessing of Alexey II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and by the Government of the Urals Federal District.

There were a few over three hundred attendees at the conference, which took place in an auditorium of the Urals Academy of State Service, and perhaps thirty people presented papers on various sociological, psychological or theological topics relating to cults. I gave a talk in three parts on Scientology, which was translated into Russian as I spoke by Professor Alexander Dvorkin . Professor Dvorkin is an internationally recognized cult expert, and the author of the book Sectology now in its third printing. Scientology's internationally recognized hate site on Professor Dvorkin is here: The text of all the conference papers will be published in book form in the next months.

The conference was opened by Archbishop Vincent, Bishop Ioann (John) Chairman of the Missionary Department of the ROC and Bishop of Belgorod, and the First Deputy to the Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Urals. (I believe he was identified as Sergei Vakhrukov.) A number of TV and print media personnel attended, and at the end of the first morning session we had a press conference in a separate meeting room in the Academy with several TV stations participating.

In the afternoon, a group of twelve of us, including both bishops, had a very positive meeting with the Presidential Plenipotentiary in the Urals Federal District Pyotr Latyshev. I had the opportunity to tell him about my personal experiences and knowledge of Scientology. He seemed genuinely interested in the cult's intelligence structure and activities, which is quite understandable because he was, I believe, a general in the Russian army before being appointed as President Putin's Representative in the Urals.

After giving one part of my conference talk, a young woman, who was not part of the program, walked onto the stage, up to the podium and began to mouth some promo for Scientology. She was ushered away from the podium and out into the hallway, where I spoke to her and proposed that we have a debate, which she accepted.

The room in the Academy where we had earlier held the press conference was quickly commandeered and a video camera set up by the Novosibirsk conference contingent to record the debate. Just having a debate was a "big win" for me, because, despite my many requests over two decades, all organization Scientologists had previously refused to debate me, or even communicate sociably.

The young woman, who gave her first name as Maria, but whose family name I didn't get, said that she is an employee of the cult in Ekaterinburg, and has been a Scientologist for five years. As it turned out, she really didn't want to debate Scientology, but wanted only to give her commercial for the cult. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity to tell her some of my experiences and ask her some questions to attempt to get her to discuss wogs' concerns about Scientology.

It is always disconcerting to Scientologists like Maria, who are kept ignorant about their cult's actual antisocial goals and practices, to learn that they are "beneficiaries" of the "contract" by which Scientology seeks to suppress my basic human rights, and of the judgment "enforcing" the "contract." It's always eye-opening for them to realize that they are in fact bound by contract to be one of the suppressive persons they've been indoctrinated to hate. Maria's only audible response, however, was to say that she couldn't say anything until she had seen the documents I was referring to. She said she couldn't comment on, or even envision being in violation of her cult's "creed" by trying to have me jailed for speaking unless she had seen the documents. The professed inability to consider simple, logical hypotheticals "without seeing the documents" is a common Scientology dodge.

I think our "debate," which Alexander Dvorkin also translated, was a success, because I was able to communicate to Maria the fact, with lots of examples, that Hubbard was a pathological liar, to urge her to read whatever literature she could find that is critical of Hubbard and Scientology, and to search the Internet for materials which show her cult's dark side. I suggested that she ask her organization seniors about Hubbard's lies and about critical materials she discovered, to watch carefully their responses to her questions, and to decide if she wanted to be part of an organization that responded to questions or criticisms in that manner. I offered myself, as someone who had done OT III and had over a thousand hours of auditing, as living proof that Scientology does not work. She thanked me, and also invited me, and the people who watched our debate to visit the Ekaterinburg Scientology center.

Over the next two days of the conference, in addition to presenting the second and third parts of my paper, I participated in a flurry of media engagements. We had a second press conference in the Ekaterinburg Media Center building, with nine television channels (or at least cameras) present and several newspaper representatives. Right after the press conference I gave two additional interviews to TV journalists. At a separate TV station, I did an interview for a half-hour show, which will also include talks with Professor Dvorkin and Novosibirsk Archpriest Alexander Novopashin. See photos from 2001 conference in Nizhny-Novgorod at And I did a talk-format show, with Professor Dvorkin participating and translating, which will be televised around Christmas.

On December 12, the twenty-first anniversary of my escape from the Scientology cult, I celebrated by accepting Maria's invitation and visiting the Ekaterinburg Scientology office, along with local priests Father Vladimir and Father Nikita, Professor Dvorkin, Pastor Thomas Gandow, and two television station crews. I didn't go inside the cult's office, because the large Scientologist blocking the entrance wouldn't specifically invite me in, but all the others entered and engaged the Scientologists in dueling videocams, and even some precious dialogue.

The Scientologists were apparently giving visitors to their center black PR documents on their designated enemies, including Professor Dvorkin and me, and it was reported that they sent to Ekaterinburg officials an accompanying letter similar to their 2001 black PR letter to Nizhny-Novgorod officials. Someone inside the cult office gave me some of their documents on me, but not a full set, part of which I have webbed at

At one point, the large Scientologist grabbed Dvorkin in a sort of Russian bear hug, and someone else called the police. Two officers arrived and took a number of statements. During our hour or so visit, I engaged the Scientologist man-handler in a discussion about Hubbard's lies and Scientology's unworkability, had similar conversations with a number of people who arrived to do courses or something, and gave interviews to the two TV crews. That evening, our twenty-first anniversary visit to Scientology was top news on both channels.

Pastor Gandow and I also gave a talk to a class of sixty university theology students, and then had a question and answer period with them. Answering live and real questions is more stimulating and enjoyable to me than simply delivering a prepared talk, and these students were very interested in the subject, and quite spirited. A number of them had also attended the conference at the Academy of State Service, so already knew us to some extent, and if time had allowed would have kept us talking for hours.

Our final work day in the Urals, we traveled to Asbest, at the invitation of the Orthodox Church Parish, to give a talk in the city's Cultural Center to about one hundred fifty people. Asbest, named after the nasty mineral, which is still mined there, is perhaps a hundred kilometers northeast of Ekaterinburg, a little deeper into Asia. A number of the attendees, which included at least two local government representatives, also asked excellent questions, and clearly grasped the danger of certain cults. One of the representatives expressed the observation that the people in his country had for seventy years been suppressed by a cult which became the government.

Thomas is an excellent speaker, who sincerely cares for people, and engages his audiences with wit and wisdom. He had the disadvantage in Russia of not being a native English speaker, and our translator Professor Dvorkin not speaking German. Nevertheless, Thomas's English rose to the occasion through all of his talks on a number of topics, and in all his many conversations with our Russian hosts, friends and acquaintances. He is also a great traveling companion who has cared for me like an older brother (two months), and shared countless laughs with me, in many miles of European, and now Asian, adventures. The weather was absolutely wonderful throughout the whole trip. During a couple of days in Ekaterinburg the temperature reached the holy number, the point where Celsius and Fahrenheit cross, -40°. We traveled everywhere between airport, hotel, conference, meetings and meals by vans, the insides of which never really got warm, and the windows of which never defrosted. We got everywhere safely and on time, however, and I'm deeply grateful to our various drivers and the good people who organized everything.

With the frosted windows, the prohibitive sightseeing temperatures, and our tight schedules, we got in almost no city tourist action. But we visited some beautiful churches, and I couldn't help but fall in love with the place and the people. There were some wide streets that were lined with long, solid five-story buildings, which must have been the height of elegance a hundred years ago, and the snow, and the cold, and the Russians in great coats and fur hats, and the street cars, had me many times mouth-tromboning Lara's Theme. I don't think Ekaterinburg figured in Doctor Zhivago, but it figured in the Communist Revolution because that is where Tzar Nicholas II and his family were murdered on July 17, 1918.

The conference was during the Russian Orthodox Church's Christmas Lent, so our meals were prepared according to their Lent traditions and rules. The Orthodox Russians eat no meat, eggs or dairy products during this time, which, as it turned out for me, was very healthy and enjoyable. They eat fish during the Christmas Lent, and there is no proscription of vodka, or wine, or beer, since they contain no meat or dairy, so, as I said, it was healthy and enjoyable. Marvelous feasts of fish and other Lenten delicacies were served to the conference participants at an Ekaterinburg convent, the name of which I don't have. I must get the name and address to thank the Sisters, who cared for and nourished us all in such a loving and splendid way.

Some of us also were feasted at times at Ekaterinburg's Elevation of the Cross Monastery, a simple place, which had been neglected and abused during the Communist era, and which is now being restored, as resources permit. The young abbot Brother Flavian is a kind soul who welcomed us, even into his cell where we shared Lenten food and drink. In Asbest, we shared an evening meal with the rector, Father Paul, and his assistant, Father Oleg. I got the idea that we conference foreigners were being treated to a more sumptuous fare than the nuns at the convent, the monks at the monastery and the priests at their churches were giving themselves, but I don't think they would have admitted it even if I had asked.

I am very thankful for the stand the Russian Orthodox Church has taken, as a body, to expose and oppose dangerous, totalitarian cults like Scientology. It is disappointing that the religions and churches of North America and Western Europe, with all their advantages and resources, have not had the courage, as organizations or bodies of believers, to embrace this psychowar. The Orthodox Church survived tremendous persecution for seventy years, and has earned its country's respect. Last year in Nizhny-Novgorod and Moscow I got a crash course in Orthodox iconography, and this year in Ekaterinburg I had an intensive of Orthodox humanity.

Just a final word of thanks to all who participated in the Ekaterinburg conference and the associated events, and to mention a few of these fine people. Alexander Dvorkin (Sasha), a Russian treasure whose blessed work against the dangerous cults is done on less than a shoestring, and who needs our support. Deacon Michael, Professor Dvorkin's assistant, who puts his life into this work. Yuri Kondratiev from St. Petersburg, who was taught English by the Mormons, and did hours of translating for me of the Russian conference speakers. Father Vladimir and Father Nikita, who organized and chaired the conference, and arranged the anniversary visit with the Scientologists. Father Alexander Novopashin, who added a Russian "Cultbusters" T-Shirt to my collection, and made me just plain happy. And Deacon Andrey Kurayev, who made me happy to be just plain.

Well we said our dasvedanyas and flew from Ekaterinburg with Urals Airlines to some well deserved R & R in balmy Moscow, where the temperature never dipped below -20° C. Then, well rested and healthily Lented, we flew back to Berlin, as I mentioned, from Russia with Aeroflot.

See photos at

© Gerry Armstrong

Pravoslavnaya Gazeta (Orthodox Newspaper) - Yekaterinburg - Internet Version

Scientologist tried to upset the appearance in Yekaterinburg of Gerald Armstrong, former personal secretary (officer) of cult founder Ron Hubbard

Yekaterinburg, 11 December, "Pravoslavnaya Gazeta." Canadian citizen Gerald Armstrong is familiar with the activities of an extremist religious organization, as he said, from the inside. He was in one himself for more than 12 years, and even now he sustains a stream of attacks at his address from the side of its adepts. This so-called "church of Scientology" which, with approval of the government in the USA, puts other countries under pressure, and calls itself a religious charitable organization.

According to Gerald Armstrong, Scientology doctrine directs neutralization of individuals and cultivation of group hatred. No activity occurs without monitoring by an intelligence service, financial big shots and corrupt leaders. Its basic method is black propaganda, which is the destruction of reputation by interfering with organizations, leaders and personal affairs.

The speaker illustrated with personal examples. When he was invited to Nizhny Novgorod last year to participate in a similar conference, government and administrative offices, security agencies and the mass media of that region were literally flooded with anonymous letters, in which Gerald was accused of crimes and of anti-religious propaganda, and in which the addressees were warned that "his presence discredits the reputation of Nizhny Novgorod in the eyes of the entire world, and makes the city a proving ground for incitement of religious discord."

Thus, leaders of this cult assert that they are fighting for freedom of religion in that they haunt people who, like Gerald Armstrong, tell people about their personal experiences. For each negative remark made about them, the "church of Scientology" sues. It's no different for Gerald, who today can be sued for more than 500,000 dollars in penalties for participation in such a conference. He's even threatened with imprisonment for telling the truth about his activities in this totalitarian cult.

Verification of Gerald Armstrong's assessment could be seen in the attempts of the Scientologists to disrupt his appearance at the conference. A representative of the cult, a certain girl who was very excited, leapt up on the stage in the auditorium and began to demand permission to speak in defense of the "church of Scientology." And although Gerald Armstrong voiced readiness to discuss this with her, the reaction in the auditorium was much more adamant: "The conference is not the place for a sermon from a totalitarian cult." The uninvited guest, in spite of all her fanatical tenacity, was escorted from the auditorium.

World news
Dangerous Cults
No. 27
December 13, 2002

Scandal at the International Anti-cult Conference in Yekaterinburg


At 12 noon Thursday, 12 December 2002, in Yekaterinburg, Gerald Armstrong made an attempt to visit the local Ural Dianetics Center.

Gerald Armstrong, former personal archivist for the founder of the Scientology totalitarian cult who spent twelve and a half years of his life in the cult, visited Yekaterinburg in the capacity of guest of honor at the international science-practical conference "Totalitarian Cults - Threat of Religious Extremism. The conference was put on by the Yekaterinburg diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church under the aegis of the authority of plenipotentiary of the RF president in the Ural Federal district, P. M. Latyshev.

Upon the conference's completion, Gerald Armstrong, who exactly twenty-one years ago left the cult and since that time is declared its worst enemy, decided to celebrate this anniversary by visiting the Ural Dianetics Center. Armstrong wanted to tell Scientologists why each member of the cult was instructed to hate him, what the true reasons were that they conducted the hunt for him all over the world and to let them know that Scientology, in spite of all its promises, did not work.

On this visit Gerald Armstrong was accompanied by a representative of the Berlin-Brandenburg Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Pastor Thomas Gandow, chairman of the missionary department of the Yekaterinburg Diocese clergyman Vladimir Zaitsev and several department employees, along with cultology professor Alexandr Dvorkin (Moscow), Deacon Mikhael Plotnikov (Moscow), vice president of the "Dialog" Eastern European legal center for families and individuals Pavel Broide (Zaporozhye, Ukraine) and chairman of the Missionary Department of the Ufimski diocese Maksim Stepanenko.

At the door of the Dianetics Center, access was blocked by a thug with a broken nose, who told them that they could not enter the premises. This in spite of the fact that it was indicated on sign hung by the door that the Center was open for all, and that access to it was free. After much questioning, the thug was called by Center staff member Aleksi Mogilni. Also in attendance were several television journalists who asked Mogilni why he did not let anyone, not even members of the press, into a social organization, in whose charter it is written that it is open for service to all people and that anyone can enter the premises. In answer to this Mogilni stated loudly that the organization was open only for its members.

Then Mogilni grabbed Professor Dvorkin and began to roughly shove him toward the stairs area. If the professor had not called loudly for help, it all could have ended in the physical beating of the elderly scholar by the husky youngster. The presence of the television cameras compelled Mogilni to put down his fists and move aside. Someone among those present in the Center handed a thick sheaf of documents that had been lying on the table in the anteroom to Father Vladimir Zaitsev. Those present were amazed once they understood that all these documents were black propaganda against Professor Dvorkin and Gerald Armstrong which a member of the cult distributed in elegant files. As Magilni said afterwards, cultists intended to send these files to the political elite of the city and region. Interesting, that in the middle of the documents distributed by Scientologist was some fantastic "expertise" on A. Dvorkin's Cultology book, signed by someone who through his own ignorance called himself an orthodox advocate, M. N. Kuznetsov. Strange finding an ally, Kuznetsov, an "orthodox" advocate!

Scientologists poured out of all the rooms, shouting and cursing at Gerald Armstrong and other visitors. Finally the police were called to the site of the incident and those present wrote statements for them. Those present left the cult's premises several minutes before 2 o'clock.

In connection with all the events, several questions arise:

1. If the Dianetics Center is an organization that served the general public, why did they not allow people onto their premises? And this in spite of the fact of widespread advertisements written by the cult that anyone may by admitted. Thus the practice of the cult does not correspond to its charter nor to its own advertisements. If that organization really was closed and esoteric and Magilni could be believed when he said it was open only for members, then that brings up the question about the need to change its charter and, correspondingly, its legal status.

2. Why does an organization that declares itself to be social and helpful to people engage in collecting dossiers on private citizens and spreading black propaganda about them?

All this is rather characteristic of an intelligence service.

Nevertheless, today marking twenty-one years out, Gerald Armstrong says that the cult is not a religious organization either, but an international mafia-like group of haters.

Today all present in the Ural Dianetics Center obtained one more verification of his opinion.

Comment from Joe Cisar

To those not familiar with the policies of a Hubbard HCO, the rush at Dvorkin and the sudden outpouring of hostile Scientologists may appear to have been a spontaneous human reaction from the Scientologists to their visitors. Spontaneous human reaction, however, is heavily discouraged by practicing Hubbardists. In addition, there is HCO (Hubbard Communications Office) policy which contains such a drill to physically clear the immediate area of "MEST bodies" perceived by the HCO to be causing suppression. Given that the above incident took place in an HCO setting, it is highly probable that HCO policy of the following sort was being pursued:

An HCO personnel requiring an eviction of a person or persons from a premises or meeting or area need only point to the person or persons and say "HCO Order!" Any staff member or Scientologist present is instantly deputized as above and must act promptly to carry out the eviction or be liable under Justice Codes when failing to do so.

- L Ron Hubbard in HCOPL 17 March, 1965,
Rights of a Staff Member, Students and Preclears to Justice,
HCO (Divisions 1) Justice Staff Hat.

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