15 May - 
Dagestani wrestler who desecrated Buddha statue arrested after igniting mass brawl 
Said Omarov

The athlete was arrested and sentenced to two years probation for igniting a mass brawl in Makhachkala, Dagestan. 

Said Omarov, the Dagestani athlete who infamously desecrated a Buddha statue in 2016, was arrested after starting a mass brawl in Makhachkala, Dagestan.

According to video footage published online, Omarov used his car to block a motorcade from passing through a central street. A driver in the motorcade emerged from his car to resolve the matter. A verbal skirmish broke out between the two men before Omarov attacked the driver and knocked him to the ground. A mass brawl ensued thereafter.

According to a report citing law enforcement, Omarov was identified as the primary instigator in the brawl and was detained and was sentenced to two years probation.

This is not the first time that Omarov has been arrested by the police. During an amateur wrestling tournament in 2016, Omarov desecrated a Buddha statue in the Kalmyk Buddhist temple and caused a national scandal. Footage of Omarov seemingly urinating on the statue was captured by his teammates and posted online and within a matter of hours, a mob had gathered outside the team’s hotel. Omarov was dragged back to the temple and was forced to kneel and apologize. Law enforcement officers later arrested Omarov and charged the Dagestani wrestler with violating the right to freedom of religion.

The assault on a Buddha statue is a serious crime in Kalmykia. It is hailed as the only region in Europe where Buddhism is practiced by the majority of the local population. The Southern republic borders with Volgograd Oblast, Astrakhan Oblast, the Republic of Dagestan in the south, Stavropol Krai, and Rostov Oblast and has successfully held various world religions throughout history. The Kalmyks/Oirats also trace their roots back to the Mongol hordes.

As a result of Omarov’s actions, he was removed from Russia’s national freestyle wrestling team and was released on a 150,000 ruble bail. His recent scandal is the first time the 24-year-old has made local news in several years.