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April 23, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Ammo-Packing American Pastor Gets 3 Years In Russian Prison

From The New York Times:

A Moscow court sentenced an American pastor to more than three years in prison on Monday for illegally bringing a box of hunting ammunition into Russia.

The pastor, Phillip H. Miles, . . . was charged with failing to declare a $25 box of hunting rounds. He intended to give the bullets as a gift to a fellow pastor and hunting enthusiast in Perm . . . .

For this, Judge Olga Drozdova . . . sentenced Mr. Miles to three years and two months in prison, despite testimony attesting to his many years of service in Russia and an impassioned 30-minute plea for clemency delivered by Mr. Miles himself in court on Friday.

“I’m very disappointed,” Mr. Miles said after his sentencing, The Associated Press reported. “It’s a strange sentence for one box of hunting bullets.”

Seem a just little excessive to you?



This is a perfect example of why people should be aware of the laws when bringing in guns and/or ammo to other countries.

The sentence does seem harsh, but it's the judge's decision not mine.



A little excessive?! 3+ years in prison? You think?

Anyone familiar with gun laws in Russia? Is it illegal to have ammunition in Russia, or just to import it? Just curious.

NH Philosopher

As proven throughout history - the only way for an unjust government to control the public in an uncertain political environment is to strip them of their basic human right to self protection. This is an outrage - but again why did the pastor not declare the ammunition to have it stripped at customs stateside or on Russian soil? A failure somewhere in the customs chain brought this case to this outcome.

Not only is this sentence unjust - it's inhumane and outright ridiculous.

Has the US Embassy taken a stance on this case?


What many of us often forget is that different cultures have completely different standards and values. Many Americans don't realize this when considering issues like this. So while this punishment is quite harsh by our standards as American sportsmen, we need to remember that things may be quite different in Russia.


Does anyone remember that a sports writer or hunting enthusiast (I don't know who...) got caught crossing from Mexico into the US with a handful of bullets in the trunk of the car which had been inadvertantly left floating around after some kind of a hunt while south of the boarder? He was tried and convicted of the illegality in Mexico -- which then affected his status in the US making him a felon and forfeiting his 2nd Amendment rights. The story was several years ago, but if anyone has details, I'd like to know more. Thanks!


hey all,
I've been following this one for a while.
First off: You don't want to get in trouble with the law in Russia. Period.
Their punishments are extremely severe, and while i don't agree with this, i am in no way surprised by the severity of it.
To be honest, he really should've known about the laws and customs regulations. I mean, ammunition isn't something that you just bring around international flights. Its really serious stuff.

However, i would imagine russia has pretty lax gun rules. or at least, guns are prevalent. The russian government is way to controlling, so i would think they'd be into gun control. But given Russia's size, geography, vast areas of unpopulated land, and hence hunting, I would think that such an offense would be so harsh and crazy.
Lets not forget that the Kalashnikov and many other arms and ammunition come from Russia, so its not like there aren't many guns and ammo there.
The russians are real hard-asses though, especially when it comes to foreigners. If you read other articles about it, it doesn't seem like he got a totally fair shake b/c his translator kept forgetting to translate, and stuff like that.
The US embassy should be on it, as that's their job.
I just hope his appeal, which comes in 9 days, get some results.

Blue Ox

One more reason not to visit Russia.


the Lord works in mysterious ways.


With the strained US/Russia relations over the past couple of years, I wonder if this guy is paying the price for our bad foriegn policy there.

John R

Jason I've wondered the same thing. Like it is some type of indirect saber rattling. The Russian judge said that pamphlets are available in the airports that describe regulations about what one can bring into the country however his Russian lawyer stated that the pamphlets are vague and do not address the issue the pastor was charged with. It appears the Gulags are low on inmate labor.

Barack Obama

When I am elected President, I promises to have the same sentence for possession of guns and ammunition here in the USA. I can't very well socialize America with you hillbillies clinging to your guns.

Ralph the Rifleman

The black market in Russia, particularly ammo and arms, is at a desperate point in their history. The Russia Mafia, if you will, has grown in size and power that would make Veto Corleone blush. I agree the sentence is harsh, but this pastor living in there for "many years" should have done his homework before bringing ammo into that country.
His family needs to pay his way out I bet they can still pay off a corrupted official there;whether Soviet or no Soviet government is in power.


Thank God for our Second amendment and the NRA or that kind of stuff will happen here.

Those who don't belong to the NRA should never complain about what the anti's are trying to do to us as the same thing can happen here if we are not careful who we vote for. Politicians are scared crap of numbers, like one Million plus NRA members.

Hillary and Obama hunters? give me a break! Have you heard their BS lately how both have hunted in the past?

Look what happened in England, Australia and now Canada recently!

They confiscated all semi autos and a whole list of guns without any restitution and if you didn't turn them in before the ban you would be arrested and thrown in jail as a criminal!

Look and see what happens if Hillary or Obama get elected, both have Voted time and time again to ban most if not all firearms in the USA.

We won't have any guns, ammo or bow and arrows when they get done.

Now the anti's want to ban ammunition because they cannot ban guns.

Join the NRA its our best defence against any of this.

And hunt in Our Country, I quit hunting in Canada years ago after I got hassled at the border for no other reason than being an American hunter, after spending a lot of money on a hunt with an outfitter.


NH Philosopher

F*ck Russia and their laws.

I am Russian and Putin's socialist /czar'ist pathway is littered with the bodies of innocent, law abiding citizens...

This is what you get when corrupt KGB agents take the helm of a flawed/corrupt communist regime government.

Don't spill milk in the motherland.

Blue Ox

"In Soviet Union, only after two days can scumbag talk to lawyer."


Perhaps the U.S. too should charge him for not declaring the ammunition when he went overseas. That way they can extradite him back to the U.S. for the charge and give him a slap on the wrist instead of the Gulag. Better get ahold of the embassy pronto.

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