Prison Guard Fired for Being Buddhist

Buddha. Source: prison guard in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod is saying that he was fired for being Buddhist, reports

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Former Captain Yevgeny Romanenko claimed that the management of Nizhny Novgorod Detention Facility No. 1 made the decision to fire him because employees of the prison were frightened of working with a Buddhist.

After returning to work on January 1 from vacation, Romanenko learned that another employee had called him a cult member at a year-end meeting for facility personnel. Two weeks later, prison head Colonel Vladimir Marmur called Romanenko into the guards’ locker room and found pictures of Buddhist iconography, including a left-facing swastika symbolizing perfection, among Romanenko’s personal belongings.

The colonel took the symbol for a Nazi swastika, and “that was the last straw,” said Romanenko.

The captain was then taken to Deputy Chief Konstantin Ivanov, who explained that workers in the facility were frightened of Romanenko and he would therefore have to be fired.

“Romanenko, we’re afraid of you,” Ivanov told the captain. “We’re not going to work with you. You have two alternatives: either immediately write a letter of resignation on your own accord, or we’ll attribute you as having contact with prisoners outside of your duties.”

It was not the first time Romanenko had faced discrimination for his religion. Colonel Marmur often expressed surprised that he abstained from using alcohol and tobacco. “Something’s not right about you,” Romanenko recalled the colonel saying.

Romanenko wrote a letter of resignation and is currently attempting to work with regional officials from the Federal Penitentiary Service to rectify his situation.