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Sunday Road Rage? Video Shows Defrocked Russian Priest Brutally Assaulting Another Driver

  • RFE/RL

The news website Gazeta.ru said the priest was named Aleksandr Cherneikin, who had been thrown out of the priesthood last year for unspecified commercial activities and calling for a schism in the church.

The news website Gazeta.ru said the priest was named Aleksandr Cherneikin, who had been thrown out of the priesthood last year for unspecified commercial activities and calling for a schism in the church.

Never cross a priest in Novosibirsk, particularly a defrocked one.

Police in the Siberian city say they are investigating an apparent road-rage incident that was caught on video and appears to show a former priest brutally beating another driver.

The 42-second video, shot on the evening of April 10, circulated initially on the Russian social-networking site VKontakte, before being republished by the local affiliate of the state-run national broadcaster Vesti and other news sites.

In it, a man is shown bent over a waist-high fence, pinned from behind by two bearded men, one wearing a suit, the other wearing a large cross around his neck and black robes common to Russian Orthodox priests.

The video doesn't show what preceded the attack.

The priest, whom Vesti said had been defrocked about a year ago, uses his fists to pound the man's face and head.

"Who gave you permission to beat up a person?" the priest yells. "I will break your glasses. I will break everything, you bastard. We'll see who beat whom.

"I'll rip off your ears and shove them up your [expletive]," he says.

The news website Gazeta.ru said the priest was named Aleksandr Cherneikin, who had been thrown out of the priesthood last year for unspecified commercial activities and calling for a schism in the church.

The other attacker, who wears a business suit, was identified as the brother of the former priest.

The video was shot outside a major shopping center by a bystander who appears to call out "let him go, let him go" repeatedly.

According to Gazeta, the victim was a businessman named Vadim Maltsev who claimed the incident began when the car the former priest and his brother were in blocked a section of road and refused to move for what he said was several minutes.

Maltsev said he got out, knocked on the other car's window and, he said, politely asked them to move, but he was cursed at.

Maltsev was quoted as saying that he then took a screwdriver out of his pocket and threatened to puncture the tires of the other car, but the driver of the car -- the brother of the former priest -- got out of his car "using a few choice words that referred to my mother. I very much wanted him to apologize."

Maltsev then said he took the other driver's hat, threw it on the ground, and removed his glasses, grabbed the driver's ponytail and told him, "You have a cesspool for a mouth." At that point, Cherneikin got out of the car and began to attack him.

Maltsev said Cherneikin used his cross to beat him as well, though the bystander's video doesn't show that moment.

For his part, Cherneikin told the Novosibirsk website NGS Novosti that he was afraid his brother would be hurt by Maltsev wielding the screwdriver as a weapon.

"So to calm him down, I grabbed his collar, twisted his hands around, and pushed him onto the fence," Cherneikin was quoted as saying.

The Novosibirsk police told NGS Novosti that they took statements from all three men, and would be investigating.

There was no word if anyone was badly injured.

According to Gazeta, Cherneikin was thrown out of the Orthodox priesthood after being reprimanded for buying and selling jewelry and for calling for the establishment of a new Orthodox church in Novosibirsk independent of the national church.

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