Protestant bishop Albert Ratkin of the New Word Church in Kaluga, former Bishop of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians (ROSHVE) in Kaluga and special representative on international relations of the Bishop of the Russian United Union of Evangelical Christians (Pentecostals) Sergey Ryakhovsky, was expelled from ROSHVE in 2021 for criticizing the leadership and its political involvement with the Russian authorities.
Ratkin runs the YouTube channel View from Heaven where he often makes anti-war statements.
In May 2022, in connection with Ratkin’s anti-war position, his personal car was vandalized: paint and construction foam were poured on the car and Z and V symbols were painted on it.
On 8 August 2023, it became known that the Moscow Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case against Ratkin’s associate, Baptist pastor Yuri Sipko, for spreading “fake news” about the Russian army instigated by political hatred. As part of this criminal case, Bishop Albert Ratkin in Kaluga was also searched, he was detained and interrogated and is currently in the status of a witness in the case. Ratkin was released from the FSB department under a non-disclosure agreement.
During the detention of Bishop Albert Ratkin and a search of pastor Sipko’s apartment, the Investigative Committee filmed and published a video showing a “blurred” portrait of Hitler on the desk with deliberate fixation of attention on it. it was anti-fascist material – a DVD of the popular BBC documentary series, Rise of the Nazis.
In another video filmed in Albert Ratkin’s office after the search, a book of similar content featured – Erwin W. Lutzer’s Hitler’s Cross exploring the lessons from the history of the Third Reich church, in particular of the church serves not God but a misanthropic ideology.
While reporting on the initiation of a prosecution and searches, federal TV channels, in particular – First and NTV, referred to Protestant communities of Baptists and Pentecostals as “pseudo-religious” or “radical religious” organisations, “centres of influence sponsored by foreign intelligence services”, “American cult”, “extremist sects”. These statements have signs of hate speech, they are aimed at discrediting religious communities.