Daghestani Athlete Detained After Desecrating Buddhist Temple In Kalmykia

Radio Free Europe, April 4, 2016

Kalmykia, Russia -- A wrestler from Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus region of Daghestan has been detained after desecrating a Buddhist temple in the neighboring Russian region of Kalmykia.

The head of Kalmykia, Aleksei Orlov, said on April 4 that the athlete was facing charges of violating the right to religious freedom.

A video uploaded on the Internet over the weekend showed the wrestler, Said Osmanov, 22, urinating on and then kicking at a Buddha statue inside a temple in Kalmykia's capital Elista.

The video sparked protests among Kalmyks, the majority of whom are Buddhists.

Osmanov was in Elista to take part in a regional wrestling tournament, which was later cancelled.

Daghestani Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov publicly apologized to Kalmykia's residents.

The press service of Daghestan's head Ramazan Abdulatipov said the republic's Sports Minister Magomed Magomedov was officially reprimanded and Osmanov’s coach was sacked.