FECRIS vice-president Alexander Dvorkin and his stated unsuitableness as a “cult expert”

Shortly after the significant Tribuna newspaper article issued of July 2014 (http://www.fecris.net/fecris-vice-president-alexander-dvorkin-his-drugs-addiction-and-anti-cult-scenery-russia) concerning Alexander Dvorkin’s background of drugs addiction, another investigative news report was published, bringing up even more specifics of his stated unsuitableness as a “cult expert”.

This latter one was blacked out (http://polit.ru/news/2014/08/06/dvorkin/), but fortunately enoughm it can be still retrieved from a Web Archive site (https://web.archive.org/web/20150201225216/http://polit.ru/news/2014/08/06/dvorkin/).

A full translation, follows below, with extra higlighting.

Alexander Dvorkin Polit.ru article 2014 Aug 06Another scandal flared up around the famous anti-cult spokesman Alexander Dvorkin: he received a doctorate degree at the Fordham University of New York [a Jesuit institute], then in 2009 was entitled to the direction of the Religious Expert Council at the Ministry of Justice, Russian Federation. Nowadays, Dvorkin is in the middle of a media scandal that has questioned his expert-administrative career under the Ministry of Justice.

Dvorkin’s competence has long been under serious doubt. Journalists of the newspaper “Tribuna” in the course of their investigation discovered that Dvorkin was expelled from an institute in his youth (the reason, according to their sources, was a serious drug hobby). As a result, Dvorkin never completed his education in his homeland, moreover there is no data in open sources whether his American degree was ever legalized in Russia. Yet this did not prevent him from acquiring a status as the most famous “sectologist” in Russia, giving lectures about religions and cults in different cities of the country, as well as reporting information later contradicted by prosecution and police agencies.

In 2009, A.L. Dvorkin was included in the Religious Expert Council of the Russian Ministry of Justice, whose task is to release expertise studies on religious movements on behalf of the government. This decision caused a lot of controversy in public and scientific circles - the Ministry of Justice so far has not been able to give a clear answer about the criteria by which it was guided when choosing such an “expert”. After the appointment of Dvorkin to the Council, a group of religious scholars began an uninterrupted action “No Inquisition!", collecting more than 10,000 signatures in order to exclude Dvorkin from the Council. In July 2012, a collective appeal from citizens to the Ministry of Justice regarding the unsuitableness of Alexander Dvorkin with his position, appeared on the site democrator.ru (about 7,000 signatures were collected).

In the past few months, Dvorkin has come to the attention of many Russian media, including Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moskovskaya Pravda, Moskovsky Komsomolets, Trud, and more. Their news reports, according to their sources as well as on materials that appeared on the web, questioned the competence of Alexander Dvorkin and his suitability to perform expert work. The newspaper "Trud" covered a counsel provided by the Serbskiy State Center, stating that Dvorkin is unsuitable for working in a governmental agency or public service, because “he is incapable of showing a proper degree of responsibility, subordination and diligence. The subject of research [Dvorkin] will certainly have no problem in making a decision of high importance, yet his decision be based on his own personal and extremely subjective views.

Therefore: “The subject [Dvorkin] is not suitable for any serious scientific activity,” experts say, because “his personality is characterized by ‘invention’ and ‘reform’, which may look scientifically grounded to an unprepared audience.”

These opinions complement already existing doubts about the nature of the Russian “sectology” founded by Dvorkin, along with the conceptual apparatus he uses, including the term “totalitarian sect [cult]” he invented in the Russian language, which he used in reference to many non-Orthodox religious organizations. This is possibly a key point to trigger a protest to exclude Dvorkin from the Religious Expert Council of the Ministry of Justice.