While European countries and the US are increasingly becoming secular societies with no official religion and have abolished laws prohibiting blasphemy against Christianity, no longer “officially atheist “ Russia is moving in the opposite direction.

Viktor Krasnov from southern Russia could receive a jail sentence after he was charged with insulting the feelings of religious believers. He is being prosecuted under a controversial 2013 law that was introduced after punk art group “Pussy Riots was jailed for a performance in Moscow’s main cathedral.

The charges – which carry a maximum one-year jail sentence – centre on an internet exchange that Krasnov was involved in two years ago on a humorous local website in his hometown of Stavropol.

“If I say that the collection of Jewish fairytales entitled the Bible is complete bullshit, that is that. At least for me,” Krasnov wrote, adding later “there is no God!”

One of the young people involved in the dispute with Krasnov then lodged a complaint against him accusing him of “offending the sentiments of Orthodox believers”.

Krasnov, whose case began last month, spent one month in a psychiatric ward last year undergoing psychiatric examinations before he was finally deemed to be sane.

His lawyer insists  that Krasnov was “simply an atheist” and that he had also commented on both “Halloween and Yiddish holidays” in the same exchange.