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Ivanov v. Holder, Jr., 1st Cir. (2013)

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    United States Court of AppealsFor the First Circuit

    No. 11- 1814

    PAVEL I VANOV; I RI NA KOZOCHKI NA,

    Pet i t i oner s,

    v.

    ERI C H. HOLDER, J R. , At t orney Gener al ,

    Respondent .

    PETI TI ON FOR REVI EW OF AN ORDEROF THE BOARD OF I MMI GRATI ON APPEALS

    Bef or e

    Tor r uel l a, Thompson, and Kayat t a,Ci r cui t J udges.

    Randy Ol en, wi t h whom Rober t D. Wat t , J r . was on br i ef , f orpet i t i oner s.

    Andr ew Nat han O' Mal l ey, wi t h whom St uar t F. Del er y, Act i ngAssi st ant At t or ney Gener al , Ci vi l Di vi si on, Er nest o H. Mol i na, J r . ,Assi st ant Di r ect or , Of f i ce of I mmi gr at i on Li t i gat i on, and D.Ni chol as Har l i ng, At t or ney, Of f i ce of I mmi gr at i on Li t i gat i on, wer eon br i ef , f or r espondent .

    November 15, 2013

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    THOMPSON, Circuit Judge. Pet i t i oner s Pavel I vanov and

    I r i na Kozochki na seek r evi ew of a f i nal or der of r emoval . They say

    t he i mmi gr at i on cour t s er r ed by f i ndi ng t hat t he per secut i on I vanov

    exper i enced i n Russi a was not "on account of " hi s Pent ecost al

    f ai t h. We agr ee. Af t er car ef ul consi der at i on of t he deci si on and

    t he record, we vacat e and r emand f or addi t i onal pr oceedi ngs.

    Facts and Procedural History

    Pet i t i oner s ar e nat i ves and ci t i zens of Russi a. I vanov

    i s a l ong- st andi ng member of t he Pent ecost al Chur ch, whi ch

    Kozochki na, a Bapt i st , now at t ends. 1

    Pet i t i oner s ent er ed t he Uni t ed St ates i n May 2003 on

    f i ve- mont h educat i onal exchange vi sas. 2 Havi ng hear d f r om f ami l y

    and f el l ow Pent ecost al s i n Russi a of ongoi ng t hr eat s and vi ol ence

    agai nst per sons of t hei r f ai t h, Pet i t i oner s over st ayed t hei r vi sas

    and appl i ed f or asyl um, wi t hhol di ng of r emoval , and r el i ef under

    1 Pet i t i oner s' cl ai ms der i ve f r om I vanov' s exper i ences as aPent ecost al i n Russi a i n t he 1990s and ear l y 2000s. Gi ven t hatKozochki na' s cl ai ms ar e der i vat i ve of I vanov' s, we wi l l di scuss

    onl y I vanov' s ent i t l ement t o r el i ef .2 Pet i t i oner s' vi sas l i st Sept ember 2003 as t hei r expi r at i on

    date. However , because Pet i t i oner s never ent er ed t he educat i onalpr ogr ams f or whi ch t hei r vi sas wer e i ssued, t he gover nment assert st hat t hei r st at us act ual l y expi r ed i n J une 2003, t hi r t y days af t ert hei r ent r y. Thi s di screpancy i s not r el evant t o t hi s appeal .

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    t he Convent i on Agai nst Tor t ur e ( CAT) i n Sept ember 2004. 3

    Pet i t i oners wer e marr i ed i n Newport , Rhode I sl and i n Oct ober 2004.

    I n August 2005, t he Depar t ment of Homel and Secur i t y ( DHS)

    ser ved Pet i t i oner s wi t h Not i ces t o Appear , char gi ng t hem wi t h

    r emovabi l i t y under t he I mmi gr at i on and Nat i onal i t y Act . See 8

    U. S. C. 1227( a) ( 1) ( B) . Pet i t i oner s f i l ed amended appl i cat i ons f or

    asyl um, wi t hhol di ng of r emoval , and CAT r el i ef i n J une 2007. They

    appear ed bef or e an I mmi gr at i on J udge ( I J ) i n a ser i es of hear i ngs

    between 2006 and 2009. Because t he I J f ound I vanov cr edi bl e, we

    r ecount t he f act s her e as I vanov pr esent ed t hem i n hi s

    document at i on and t est i mony.

    I vanov was bor n i n Chel yabi nsk, Russi a on November 21,

    1983. Hi s par ent s r ai sed hi m i n t he Pent ecost al f ai t h, pr act i ci ng

    i n secret dur i ng t he ant i - r el i gi ous Sovi et r egi me, t hen j oi ni ng a

    chur ch i n 1995 as Russi a began t o open up t o rel i gi on af t er t he

    f al l of communi sm.

    Pent ecost al s r epr esent a r el i gi ous mi nor i t y i n Russi a. 4

    Though t he Russi an Const i t ut i on provi des f or f r eedom of r el i gi on,

    " [ m] any ci t i zens f i r ml y bel i eve t hat adher ence t o t he Russi an

    3 Because Pet i t i oner s mi ssed t he one- year f i l i ng deadl i ne f orasyl umby onl y t hr ee mont hs, t he I mmi gr at i on J udge gave Pet i t i oner s

    "t he benef i t of t he doubt " and t r eat ed t hei r cl ai m as t i mel y.4 Uni t ed St at es Depar t ment of St at e, Bur eau of Democracy,

    Human Ri ght s and Labor , Russi a: Count r y Repor t s on Human Ri ght sP r a c t i c es 2 0 ( Ma r . 2007 ) , a v a i l a b l e a tht t p: / / www. stat e. gov/ j / dr l / r l s/ hr r pt / 2006/ 78835. ht m [ her ei naf t er2006 Count r y Repor t ] .

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    Or t hodox Chur ch . . . i s at t he hear t of t hei r nat i onal i dent i t y, " 5

    and "member s of mi nor i t y and ' non- t r adi t i onal ' r el i gi ons, "

    i ncl udi ng Pent ecost al s, "cont i nue t o encount er pr ej udi ce, soci et al

    di scr i mi nat i on, and i n some cases physi cal at t acks. " 6 Local

    aut hor i t i es r epor t edl y do not adequat el y r espond t o such at t acks. 7

    For exampl e, pr i or t o 2005, Evangel i cal s and Pent ecost al s i n

    var i ous r egi ons r epor t ed t he vandal i zi ng and bur ni ng of pr ayer

    houses, i ncl udi ng i n I vanov' s homet own of Chel yabi nsk, wher e

    aut hor i t i es made no ar r est s. 8

    I vanov' s memor i es of pr obl ems f or hi s chur ch dat e back t o

    Mar ch 1996, when he l earned t hat member s of t he Russi an Or t hodox

    Chur ch i nt er cept ed Pent ecost al l i t er at ur e sent f r omFrance. Then,

    on J anuary 7, 1997 ( Or t hodox Chr i st mas) , he hear d t hat a gr oup of

    "Bar kashovt sy" Russi an nat i onal i st , neo- Nazi "ski nheads" 9 had

    bur ned hi s chur ch' s of f i ce and beat up t he ni ght watchman. Later ,

    on May 30, 1999, whi l e I vanov and hi s par ent s wer e vi si t i ng t hei r

    5 Uni t ed St at es Depar t ment of St at e, Bur eau of Democracy,Human Ri ght s and Labor , Russi a: I nt er nat i onal Rel i gi ous Fr eedomR e p o r t 1 ( S e p t . 2 0 0 6 ) , a v a i l a b l e a tht t p: / / www. st at e. gov/ j / dr l / r l s/ i r f / 2006/ 71403. ht m[ her ei naf t er 2006Rel i gi ous Fr eedom Repor t ] .

    6 2006 Count r y Repor t at 1.

    7Uni t ed St at es Commi ssi on on I nt er nat i onal Rel i gi ous Fr eedom,Pol i cy Focus on Russi a 14 ( Fal l 2006) [ her ei naf t er Pol i cy Focus] .

    8 2006 Rel i gi ous Fr eedom Report at 15.

    9 Hencef or t h, "ski nheads, " f or ease of r ef er ence.

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    past or ' s home f or Pent ecost , a mob l ed by a di sgraced Russi an

    Or t hodox pr i est at t acked t he home, beat i ng t he past or ' s wi f e,

    l oot i ng t he pr emi ses, and bur ni ng r el i gi ous l i t er at ur e.

    I vanov t est i f i ed t hat he was per sonal l y mi st r eat ed

    because of hi s r el i gi ous bel i ef s on sever al occasi ons. Fi r st , on

    November 21, 1999, dur i ng I vanov' s bapt i sm i nt o t he Pent ecost al

    f ai t h on hi s si xt eent h bi r t hday, byst ander s heckl ed and t hr ew

    bot t l es at cel ebr ant s dur i ng t he i ni t i al cer emony at a publ i c pool .

    That eveni ng, whi l e r i t es cont i nued at t he prayer house, ski nheads

    bur st i n, shot r ubber bul l et s, conf i scat ed l i t er at ur e, and

    r ansacked t he house.

    Second, on Apr i l 20, 2002, t he anni ver sar y of Hi t l er ' s

    bi r t h, ski nheads at t acked I vanov as he l ef t t he chur ch- r un dr ug

    r ehabi l i t at i on cent er wher e he vol unt eer ed. 10 Hi s chur ch oper ated

    t he cent er as par t of i t s mi ssi on of publ i c ser vi ce. Pat i ent s

    10 I vanov r ecount s t hat t he ski nheads were of t en moreaggr essi ve ar ound t he t i me of "Hi t l er ' s Bi r t hday. " He ci t es Apr i l20, 2000, as anot her exampl e of when ski nheads at t acked aPent ecost al pr ayer house. They wr eaked havoc and covered t he wal l swi t h i nsul t i ng sl ur s and swast i ka gr af f i t i . Lucki l y, nopar i shi oners were pr esent or harmed.

    I vanov' s asser t i on t hat ski nheads commemor at e "Hi t l er ' s

    Bi r t hday" i s conf i r med by t he 2006 Count r y Report , whi chhi ghl i ght ed a di spl ay of Nazi post er s on Apr i l 20, 2005 asoccur r i ng "on t he anni ver sar y of Hi t l er ' s bi r t h. " 2006 Count r yRepor t at 21. I t al so r epor t ed t he f i r ebombi ng of a Bapt i st chur chi n Chel yabi nsk and t he arson of an Advent i st chur ch i n anotherr egi on dur i ng t hat same mont h ( t hough i t di d not speci f y whet hert hose event s al so occur r ed on Apr i l 20) . I d. at 20.

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    r ecei ved medi cal t r eat ment and f ol l owed a st r i ct r egi men of dai l y

    bi bl e st udy.

    That ni ght , as I vanov l ef t t he cent er , f our young

    ski nheads "knocked [ hi m] down and dr agged [ hi m] 3 bl ocks" t o a

    basement where he was "chai ned and beat en wi t h f ul l pl ast i c wat er

    bot t l es. " They handcuf f ed hi m, t hen appl i ed an el ect r i c shock t o

    one hand and put ci garet t es out on t he ot her . They t ol d hi mhe had

    t wo days t o f i gur e out how t o cl ose t he chur ch' s " ' sat ani c'

    di spensar y. " The ski nheads t hen l ef t I vanov f or near l y t hr ee days

    wi t hout f ood and wat er . Hi s par ent s f i l ed a pol i ce r epor t , but t o

    t hei r knowl edge no act i on was t aken. For t unat el y, t he ski nheads

    r el eased I vanov of t hei r own accor d a f ew days l at er . I t was onl y

    af t er I vanov' s r el ease t hat he r eal i zed t he dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on

    cent er ' s wor k i nt er f er ed wi t h t he ski nheads' l ucrat i ve dr ug t r ade.

    Thi r d, i n February 2003, I vanov "was summoned t o t he

    l ocal pol i ce depar t ment . " Ther e, a f eder al secur i t y ser vi ce

    of f i cer i dent i f i ed as Maj or Kozl ov or der ed I vanov t o pr ovi de f al se

    t est i mony i n t he pr osecut i on of hi s past or . Pr osecut or s accused

    t he past or of usi ng hypnosi s t o ext or t a t en- per cent t i t he f r om

    congr egant s. Maj or Kozl ov t ol d I vanov he "woul d be sor r y f or not

    cooper at i ng" wi t h t he pr osecut i on.

    A f ew days l at er , i n ear l y March 2003, f our ski nheads

    at t acked I vanov i n t he l obby of hi s apar t ment bui l di ng. They beat

    hi m wi t h bat ons whi l e wear i ng r ubber gl oves, br ui si ng hi s l egs so

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    sever el y t hat he mi ssed school f or a week. Al t hough t hey wore no

    uni f orms, I vanov knew t hey were ski nheads by t he weapons t hey used.

    Because t he beat i ng occur r ed shor t l y af t er I vanov' s conver sat i on

    wi t h Maj or Kozl ov, I vanov bel i eves t he ski nheads wer e r et al i at i ng

    agai nst hi mf or hi s r ef usal t o t est i f y agai nst hi s past or . I vanov

    cal l ed t he pol i ce when he got back t o hi s apart ment , but no one

    ever came. I vanov di d not seek f ur t her pol i ce assi st ance or

    medi cal at t ent i on because he t hought i t woul d be f ut i l e.

    Four t h, on Apr i l 22, 2003, unknown assai l ant s t hr ew

    Mol ot ov cockt ai l s at I vanov' s home i n t he mi ddl e of t he ni ght .

    I vanov, hi s f ather , and hi s mot her wer e home. For t unat el y,

    I vanov' s mot her was awake and t he f ami l y was abl e t o put out t he

    r esul t i ng f i r e. That same ni ght , t he chur ch' s dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on

    cent er al so was set on f i r e. I vanov di d not see t he peopl e who

    t hr ew t he Mol ot ov cockt ai l s, but based on t he per pet r at or s'

    pr eci si on and t he f ami l i ar t i mi ng of t he at t acks al most exact l y

    one year af t er ski nheads accost ed hi m as he l ef t t he cent er and

    j ust t wo days af t er "Hi t l er ' s Bi r t hday" he bel i eves t he ski nheads

    wer e agai n r esponsi bl e. Pet i t i oner s l ef t Russi a and came t o t he

    Uni t ed St at es r oughl y one mont h af t er t hi s i nci dent .

    I n hi s asyl um appl i cat i on, I vanov st at ed t hat he f ear ed

    i f he ret ur ned t o Russi a, ski nheads woul d "sever [ e] l y har m[ ] or

    ki l l [ ] " hi m, or t he f eder al secur i t y ser vi ce woul d i mpr i son hi m on

    "t r umped- up" char ges or conf i ne hi m t o a ment al f aci l i t y under a

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    f al se di agnosi s, because of hi s member shi p i n a "non- t r adi t i onal "

    sect and hi s r ef usal t o t est i f y f al sel y agai nst hi s past or . At a

    hear i ng bef or e t he I J i n J ul y 2007, af t er r ecount i ng hi s past

    mi st r eat ment , I vanov sai d he f ear ed i f he r et ur ned t o Russi a, " t he

    same t hi ng woul d [ happen] . " He al so sai d he woul d "cont i nue t o be

    [ subj ect ] t o t he same l awl essness t hat [ he] f el t bef or e. "

    When I vanov' s at t orney asked i f he had any f ear of t he

    gover nment , I vanov expl ai ned t hat i t was "a wel l - known and

    est abl i shed f act t hat . . . t he ski nheads . . . ar e connect ed t o

    t he gover nment st r uct ur e. " He el aborated t hat because he " l ook[ ed]

    l i ke [ a] Russi an" and hi s r el i gi ous bel i ef s wer e not out war dl y

    apparent , t he onl y way t he "young ki ds" who at t acked hi mwoul d know

    t hat he di d not f i t t hei r vi ew of a "pur e nat i on [ or ] pur e r ace i n

    Russi a" i s by t he gui dance or i nf l uence of "somebody f r om above. "

    I n J ul y 2009, t he I J del i ver ed an or al deci si on denyi ng

    Pet i t i oner s rel i ef . Al t hough t he I J f ound I vanov' s t est i mony t o be

    cr edi bl e and gener al l y consi st ent , he det er mi ned t hat I vanov " f el l

    shor t of credi bi l i t y" wher e he dr ew "concl usi ons . . . f r om t he

    f act s" and engaged i n "specul at i on . . . wi t h r egar d t o t he abusi ve

    act i vi t y of t he ski nheads. " Accept i ng f or t he sake of di scussi on

    t hat I vanov' s exper i ences amount ed t o past per secut i on, t he I J

    di smi ssed I vanov' s assert i on that t he ski nheads wer e connect ed t o

    gover nment aut hor i t i es as mer e supposi t i on wi t hout r ecor d suppor t .

    He f ur t her concl uded t hat I vanov' s admi ssi on t hat " t he ski nheads

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    want ed t o cl ose t he [ chur ch' s] dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on cent er because

    i t was havi ng a negat i ve ef f ect on t hei r dr ug t r ade" meant t hat

    " [ t ] he mot i vat i on of t he ski nheads was an i nt ent i on t o pr of i t by

    cr i mi nal act i vi t y, r at her t han t o puni sh [ I vanov] and ot her s f or

    engagi ng i n t he Pent ecost al f ai t h. " Fi nal l y, he f ound t hat

    I vanov' s f ear of r et ur n to Russi a was based on "t he gener al

    l awl essness of t he pl ace, " r at her t han abuse due t o hi s r el i gi on.

    As a r esul t , t he I J f ound t hat I vanov had not shown he

    exper i enced per secut i on "on account of " a pr otect ed gr ound, and

    t hus he f ai l ed t o qual i f y f or asyl um. I vanov t her ef or e al so f el l

    shor t of t he mor e st r i ngent st andar d f or wi t hhol di ng of r emoval .

    Fi nal l y, I vanov' s cl ai mf or CAT r el i ef f ai l ed because t her e was no

    evi dence t hat I vanov had been or woul d be t or t ur ed at t he hands of

    publ i c of f i ci al s or wi t h t he gover nment ' s acqui escence i f he

    r et ur ned t o Russi a. The I J consequent l y deni ed Pet i t i oner s'

    appl i cat i ons but gr ant ed t hem vol unt ar y depar t ur e.

    Pet i t i oner s appeal ed. On r evi ew, t he Boar d of

    I mmi gr at i on Appeal s ( BI A) af f i r med t he I J ' s deci si on wi t hout

    opi ni on. Thi s appeal f ol l owed.

    Standard of Review

    Or di nar i l y, we r evi ew deci si ons of t he BI A, not t he I J .

    Lar i os v. Hol der , 608 F. 3d 105, 107 ( 1st Ci r . 2010) . However ,

    wher e, as her e, " t he BI A summar i l y af f i r ms t he I J ' s asyl um

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    det er mi nat i on, . . . we r evi ew t he I J ' s deci si on as i f i t wer e t he

    deci si on of t he BI A. " I d.

    We r evi ew an I J ' s f i ndi ngs of f act , i ncl udi ng t he

    det er mi nat i on of whet her per secut i on occur r ed on account of a

    pr ot ect ed gr ound, under t he f ami l i ar and def er ent i al subst ant i al

    evi dence st andard. Lopez de Hi ncapi e v. Gonzal es, 494 F. 3d 213,

    217 ( 1st Ci r . 2007) . Under t hi s rul e, we r espect t he I J ' s f i ndi ngs

    i f "suppor t ed by reasonabl e, subst ant i al , and pr obat i ve evi dence on

    t he r ecor d consi der ed as a whol e. " Lar i os, 608 F. 3d at 107

    ( quot i ng I mmi gr at i on & Nat ur al i zat i on Ser v. v. El i as- Zacar i as, 502

    U. S. 478, 481 ( 1992) ) . However , "our def er ence i s not unl i mi t ed, "

    and "we may not af f i r m [ t he I J ' s f i ndi ngs] " i f "we cannot

    consci ent i ousl y f i nd t hat t he evi dence suppor t i ng [ t hem] i s

    subst ant i al , when vi ewed i n t he l i ght t hat t he r ecor d i n i t s

    ent i r et y f ur ni shes, i ncl udi ng t he body of evi dence opposed t o the

    [ I J ' s] vi ew. " Kar t asheva v. Hol der , 582 F. 3d 96, 105 ( 1st Ci r .

    2009) ( ci t at i ons omi t t ed) ( i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks omi t t ed) .

    I ndeed, we ar e obl i gat ed t o r ej ect t he I J ' s f i ndi ngs i f a

    " r easonabl e adj udi cator woul d be compel l ed t o concl ude t o t he

    cont r ar y. " Pr ecet aj v. Hol der , 649 F. 3d 72, 75 ( 1st Ci r . 2011)

    ( quot i ng 8 U. S. C. 1252( b) ( 4) ( b) ) .

    Discussion

    We begi n wi t h a br i ef over vi ew of per t i nent asyl uml aw.

    To qual i f y f or asyl um, an al i en must est abl i sh t hat he i s a

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    r ef ugee. 8 U. S. C. 1158( b) ( 1) ( A) . A r ef ugee i s a per son who i s

    unabl e or unwi l l i ng t o ret ur n t o hi s homel and "because of

    per secut i on or a wel l - f ounded f ear of per secut i on on account of

    r ace, r el i gi on, nat i onal i t y, member shi p i n a par t i cul ar soci al

    gr oup, or pol i t i cal opi ni on. " 8 U. S. C. 1101( a) ( 42) . Pr oof of

    past per secut i on cr eat es a pr esumpt i on of a wel l - f ounded f ear of

    f ut ur e persecut i on t hat t he gover nment may r ebut . Harut yunyan v.

    Gonzal es, 421 F. 3d 64, 67 ( 1st Ci r . 2005) ; see al so 8 C. F. R.

    1208. 13( b) ( 1) .

    Per secut i on i s not def i ned by st at ut e, but we know t hat

    i t r equi r es " mor e t han ordi nar y har assment , mi st r eat ment , or

    suf f er i ng. " Lopez de Hi ncapi e, 494 F. 3d at 217. To const i t ut e

    per secut i on, abuse "must have r eached a f ai r l y hi gh t hr eshol d of

    ser i ousness, as wel l as some r egul ar i t y and f r equency. " Rebenko v.

    Hol der , 693 F. 3d 87, 92 ( 1st Ci r . 2012) ( quot i ng Al i beaj v.

    Gonzal es, 469 F. 3d 188, 191 ( 1st Ci r . 2006) ) ( i nt er nal quot at i on

    marks omi t t ed) .

    Per secut i on al so "al ways i mpl i es some connect i on to

    gover nment act i on or i nact i on, " whet her i n t he f or m of di r ect

    gover nment act i on, "government - support ed act i on, or gover nment ' s

    unwi l l i ngness or i nabi l i t y t o cont r ol pr i vat e conduct . " Sok v.

    Mukasey, 526 F. 3d 48, 54 ( 1st Ci r . 2008) ( ci t at i ons omi t t ed)

    ( i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks omi t t ed) ; see al so Bur bi ene v. Hol der ,

    568 F. 3d 251, 255 ( 1st Ci r . 2009) . Local aut hor i t i es' f ai l ur e t o

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    r espond t o pr i or per secut i on may demonst r at e a government ' s

    unwi l l i ngness or i nabi l i t y t o cont r ol per secut or s. Cf . Or t i z-

    Ar ani ba v. Kei sl er , 505 F. 3d 39, 42 ( 1st Ci r . 2007) ( quot i ng

    Harutyunyan, 421 F. 3d at 68) ( " I n det ermi ni ng whet her a gover nment

    i s wi l l i ng and abl e t o cont r ol per secut or s, . . . a pr ompt r esponse

    by l ocal aut hor i t i es t o pr i or i nci dent s i s ' t he most t el l i ng

    dat um. ' ") .

    For pur poses of asyl um, an al i en must al so demonst r ate

    t hat t he per secut i on he exper i enced occur r ed "on account of " a

    st at ut or i l y- pr ot ect ed gr ound. Lopez de Hi ncapi e, 494 F. 3d at 217.

    To meet t hi s "nexus" r equi r ement , an al i en must provi de suf f i ci ent

    evi dence of an actual connect i on bet ween the harm he suf f er ed and

    hi s pr ot ect ed t r ai t . I d. at 217- 18. Thi s does not r equi r e hi m" t o

    i dent i f y [hi s] ant agoni st s wi t h absol ut e cer t ai nt y, " i d. at 219, or

    " t o show t hat t he i mper mi ssi bl e mot i vat i on was t he sol e mot i vat i on

    f or t he per secut i on, " Sompotan v. Mukasey, 533 F. 3d 63, 69 (1st

    Ci r . 2008) ( ci t i ng I n r e S- P- , 21 I . & N. Dec. 486, 490 ( BI A 1996) )

    ( emphasi s added) . Rat her , he must demonst r at e onl y " t hat t he

    per secut i on was based, ' at l east i n par t , ' on an i mper mi ssi bl e

    mot i vat i on. " I d. ( quot i ng Sanchez J i menez v. U. S. At t ' y Gen. , 492

    F. 3d 1223, 1232- 33 ( 11t h Ci r . 2007) ) .

    I n many asyl um cases, t he cent r al i ssue i s whet her t he

    appl i cant ' s st or y of past abuse i s credi bl e. Pr ecet aj , 649 F. 3d at

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    76. The I J has "consi der abl e l at i t ude i n eval uat i ng credi bi l i t y, "

    and i t s assessment r ecei ves subst ant i al wei ght . I d.

    I n t hi s case, t he I J f ound t hat I vanov' s t est i mony about

    t he mi st r eat ment he exper i enced was cr edi bl e, gener al l y i nt er nal l y

    consi st ent , and consi st ent wi t h t he r ecor d. Based on t hi s

    t est i mony, t he I J observed i t was "a cl ose quest i on" as t o whet her

    I vanov est abl i shed past per secut i on, but assumed f or t he pur pose of

    di scussi on t hat he had done so. Rel yi ng on t he I J ' s cr edi bi l i t y

    det er mi nat i on, we f i nd t hat I vanov met t he past per secut i on

    t hr eshol d.

    As out l i ned above, I vanov t est i f i ed about f our speci f i c

    occasi ons of mi st r eat ment because of hi s Pent ecost al f ai t h wi t hi n

    a f our - year per i od: ( 1) when ski nheads vi ol ent l y i nt er r upt ed hi s

    bapt i sm cer emony at a pr ayer house i n November 1999; ( 2) when

    ski nheads at t acked hi m as he l ef t t he chur ch- r un dr ug

    r ehabi l i t at i on cent er wher e he vol unt eer ed, beat hi mup, handcuf f ed

    and shocked hi m, and l ef t hi m i n a basement f or t hr ee days wi t hout

    f ood and wat er i n Apr i l 2002; ( 3) when ski nheads at t acked hi m i n

    hi s apart ment l obby a f ew days af t er he ref used t o compl y wi t h a

    f eder al secur i t y of f i cer ' s f or cef ul r equest t hat he t est i f y agai nst

    hi s past or i n Mar ch 2003; and ( 4) when uni dent i f i ed assai l ant s

    l aunched Mol ot ov cockt ai l s at hi s home i n Apr i l 2003.

    I vanov al so t est i f i ed t o a hi st or y of mi st r eat ment of hi s

    congr egat i on r eachi ng back t o hi s yout h, i ncl udi ng t he r epeat ed

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    conf i scat i on of r el i gi ous l i t er at ur e, l oot i ng and bur ni ng of pr ayer

    houses, and vi ol ence agai nst chur ch member s. I vanov' s t est i mony

    was consi st ent wi t h U. S. St ate Depart ment human r i ght s r eport s

    descr i bi ng t he mi st r eat ment of Pent ecost al s and per sons of ot her

    mi nor i t y rel i gi ons i n Russi a, i ncl udi ng i nci dent s occur r i ng on or

    ar ound t he anni ver sar y of Hi t l er ' s bi r t h. 11

    Consi der ed t oget her , t hese event s suggest a pat t er n of

    escal at i ng abuse di r ected at I vanov begi nni ng the day he was

    bapt i zed and cont i nui ng unt i l he l ef t t he count r y. The har mI vanov

    suf f er ed, par t i cul ar l y dur i ng hi s t hr ee- day det ent i on i n Apr i l

    2002, r ose above "or di nar y har assment , mi st r eat ment , or suf f er i ng. "

    See Sok, 526 F. 3d at 54 ( si x event s occur r i ng over t he cour se of

    f our year s, consi der ed t oget her , suggest ed a pat t er n of abuse,

    wher e t he most ser i ous i nci dent i nvol ved a t hr ee- day det ent i on) .

    I vanov' s mi st r eat ment occur r ed r egul ar l y and wi t h some f r equency

    f or f our year s. Vi ewed wi t hi n t he br oader cont ext of i nt ol er ance

    and abuse of Pent ecost al s i n Russi a as document ed i n t he U. S. St ate

    Depar t ment human r i ght s r epor t s, t hese i nci dent s r each t he "f ai r l y

    hi gh t hr eshol d of ser i ousness" r equi r ed of per secut i on. See

    Pul i si r v. Mukasey, 524 F. 3d 302, 308- 09 ( 1st Ci r . 2008) ( "Common

    sense suggest s t hat l ar ger soci al , cul t ur al , and pol i t i cal f or ces

    can l end val uabl e cont ext t o par t i cul ar i nci dent s and, t hus, can

    11 See 2006 Count r y Repor t at 1, 18- 22; 2006 Rel i gi ous Fr eedomReport at 9- 15.

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    i nf l uence t he wei ght t hat a f act f i nder may assi gn t o those

    i nci dent s. " ) .

    Seen i n thi s cont ext , t hese abuses al so demonst r at e t he

    r equi si t e nexus t o gover nment act i on or i nact i on. Her e, I vanov

    t est i f i ed t hat hi s par ent s cont act ed t he pol i ce when ski nheads

    ki dnapped hi mf or t hr ee days i n Apr i l 2002, but no f ol l ow- up act i on

    was t aken. Ther e i s not hi ng i n t he r ecor d t o suggest t hat I vanov' s

    abusers wer e ever appr ehended, puni shed, or even l ooked f or , i n

    spi t e of havi ng sever el y beat en and det ai ned hi mf or t hr ee days. 12

    Thi s i s consi st ent wi t h r eport s t hat l ocal aut hor i t i es do not

    adequat el y respond to at t acks agai nst member s of mi nor i t y r el i gi ous

    communi t i es, i ncl udi ng Pent ecost al s. 13

    12 We do not , as t he di ssent suggest s, f aul t t he pol i ce f or notf i ndi ng I vanov dur i ng t he days he was det ai ned. We ar e cer t ai nl yawar e t hat even t he best pol i ce wor k wi l l not al ways enabl e pol i cet o hal t a cr i mi nal i n t he act . However , her e, t her e i s no evi dence

    of t he pol i ce ei t her seeki ng I vanov whi l e he was ki dnapped orcont act i ng I vanov af t er he was r el eased t o t r y t o f i nd hi sat t acker s or t o ensur e hi s pr ot ect i on f r om f ut ur e vi ol ence. Weconsi der t hi s t o be t he ver y def i ni t i on of pol i ce i nact i on.

    13 Pol i cy Focus at 14 ( ci t i ng, i nt er al i a, an at t ack by yout hsf ol l owi ng a Pent ecost al ser vi ce i n 2006 wher e aut hor i t i es f ai l ed t oact ) . I ndeed, one of t he U. S. Commi ssi on on Rel i gi ous Fr eedom' skey concer ns about Russi a i s " [ t ] he r i se i n xenophobi a and et hni cand r el i gi ous i nt ol er ance, r esul t i ng i n an i ncr eased number ofvi ol ent at t acks and hat e cr i mes, and t he gover nment ' s f ai l ur e toaddr ess t hi s ser i ous pr obl em adequat el y. " I d. at 3. Thei r repor t

    det ai l s a r ange of at t acks mot i vat ed by r el i gi ous or et hni c hat r edand t he aut hor i t i es' l ackl ust er r esponses, such as cl assi f yi ng hat ecr i mes as mer e "hool i gani sm. " I d. at 3- 6. The 2006 Count r y Repor tl i kewi se not ed t hat whi l e "[ a] ut hor i t i es usual l y i nvest i gat edi nci dent s of r el i gi ous vandal i sm and vi ol ence, . . . ar r est s ofsuspect s wer e ext r emel y i nf r equent and convi ct i ons wer e rar e. "2006 Count r y Repor t at 20.

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    Fur t hermore, ski nheads at t acked I vanov i n March 2003 onl y

    days af t er a f eder al secur i t y of f i cer t r i ed t o i nt i mi dat e hi mi nt o

    t est i f yi ng agai nst hi s past or . Thi s f i t s wi t h account s t hat

    member s of t he f eder al secur i t y ser vi ce "i ncreasi ngl y t r eat [ ] t he

    l eader shi p of some mi nor i t y rel i gi ous gr oups as secur i t y t hr eat s. " 14

    I t al so al i gns wi t h r el i gi ous l eader s' appr ehensi ons "t hat Russi an

    gover nment of f i ci al s pr ovi de t aci t or act i ve suppor t t o a vi ew hel d

    by many et hni c Russi ans t hat Or t hodoxy i s t he count r y' s so- cal l ed

    ' t r ue rel i gi on. ' " 15 Mor eover , i t shows t hat l ocal aut hor i t i es have

    si gni f i cant oppor t uni t i es t o r estr i ct i ndi vi dual s ' r el i gi ous

    f r eedoms, l eadi ng t o gr eat var i at i on between t he l aws on t he books

    and nat i onal pol i ci es on t he one hand, and the on- t he- gr ound

    r eal i t y on t he ot her . 16

    I vanov cont act ed t he pol i ce i mmedi at el y af t er t he Mar ch

    2003 at t ack, but agai n no one came t o hi s ai d. As i n Apr i l 2002,

    t her e i s no evi dence t hat t he pol i ce made any ef f or t s t o appr ehend

    or puni sh I vanov' s at t acker s. I t i s no wonder I vanov t hought

    f ur t her at t empt s t o el i ci t pol i ce assi st ance woul d be "f ut i l e. "

    Al t hough t he I J di d not credi t I vanov' s asser t i on t hat

    ski nheads wer e "used by t he pol i ce as sur r ogates" or "ai ded and

    abet t ed by t he aut hor i t i es, " I vanov was not r equi r ed t o make such

    14 2006 Rel i gi ous Fr eedom Repor t at 1.

    15 Pol i cy Focus at 4.

    16 2006 Count r y Repor t at 18- 19.

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    a showi ng t o qual i f y f or asyl um. I vanov had onl y t o est abl i sh t hat

    t he gover nment was unabl e or unwi l l i ng t o cont r ol t he ski nheads'

    act i ons, see Sok, 526 F. 3d at 53, and i t appear s cl ear f r om t he

    r ecor d t hat t hi s i s t he case. Local aut hor i t i es ei t her f ai l ed t o

    t ake act i on agai nst , or per haps even suppor t ed, I vanov' s

    per secut or s. Thei r f ai l ur e t o r espond si gnal s t hei r unwi l l i ngness

    or i nabi l i t y t o cont r ol I vanov' s per secut or s. 17 Cf . Or t i z- Ar ani ba,

    505 F. 3d at 42. Accordi ngl y, we make expl i ci t what t he I J assumed

    and hol d that I vanov demonst r at ed past per secut i on l i nked to

    gover nment act i on or i nact i on.

    We next t ur n t o t he quest i on of nexus t o a pr otect ed

    gr ound. Al t hough t he I J was wi l l i ng t o accept t hat I vanov pr oved

    past per secut i on, he f ound t hat I vanov di d not est abl i sh a

    suf f i ci ent connect i on bet ween the abuse he suf f er ed and hi s

    r el i gi on. As set out above, t he I J pr ovi ded t wo r easons f or hi s

    f i ndi ng: ( 1) he i nt er pr et ed I vanov' s admi ssi on t hat ski nheads

    opposed t he dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on cent er because of i t s negat i ve

    i mpact on t hei r dr ug t r ade as an i ndi cat i on t hat t hey wer e not

    puni shi ng I vanov f or engagi ng i n hi s Pent ecost al f ai t h; and ( 2) he

    17 The di ssent goes out of i t s way and f ar beyond t he recordt o say we ar e assumi ng that onl y act ual ar r est s by government

    aut hor i t i es i n Russi a or t he Uni t ed St at es demonst r at e t hei rwi l l i ngness or abi l i t y t o cont r ol r el i gi ous per secut or s. We sai dno such t hi ng. The evi dence her e not onl y shows a f ai l ur e toar r est , but a t ot al f ai l ur e t o i nvest i gat e or f ol l ow up wi t h I vanovon any of t he occasi ons he was at t acked. Thi s ut t er l ack ofi nt er vent i on or act i on compel s us t o concl ude I vanov cannot l i vesaf el y i n Russi a wi t hout f aci ng per secut i on.

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    concl uded t hat I vanov' s f ear of r et ur n t o Russi a was based on " t he

    gener al l awl essness of t he pl ace, r ather t han mi st r eat ment on

    account of " hi s r el i gi on. Consi der i ng t he r ecor d as a whol e, we

    ar e unabl e t o f i nd t hat ei t her of t hese r at i onal es or t he I J ' s

    ul t i mat e det er mi nat i on was " suppor t ed by r easonabl e, subst ant i al ,

    and pr obat i ve evi dence. " 18

    Fi r st , t he I J ' s f i xat i on on t he ski nheads' dr ug t r ade t o

    t he excl usi on of any ot her mot i vat i on i s mi sgui ded on pr i nci pl e and

    on f act . As a mat t er of pr i nci pl e, we do not r equi r e an al i en t o

    show t hat an i mper mi ssi bl e mot i vat i on was t he sol e mot i vat i on f or

    hi s persecut i on. Sompot an, 533 F. 3d at 69. We have not ed t hat

    al i ens "sel domknow t he ' exact mot i vat i on[ s] ' of t hei r per secut or s

    and, of cour se, persecut or s may of t en have more t han one

    mot i vat i on. " I d. ( al t er at i on i n or i gi nal ) ( quot i ng I n r e S- P- , 21

    I . & N. at 490) . Our si st er ci r cui t s agr ee. See, e. g. , Menghesha

    v. Gonzal es, 450 F. 3d 142, 148 ( 4t h Ci r . 2006) ; Mohi deen v.

    Gonzal es, 416 F. 3d 567, 570 ( 7t h Ci r . 2005) ; Lukwago v. Ashcrof t ,

    329 F. 3d 157, 170 ( 3d Ci r . 2003) ; Gi r ma v. I mmi gr at i on &

    Nat ur al i zat i on Ser v. , 283 F. 3d 664, 667 ( 5t h Ci r . 2002) ; Bor j a v.

    18 Though t he I J di d not poi nt t hi s out as a concer n, we not e

    pr el i mi nar i l y t hat I vanov i dent i f i ed hi s ant agoni st s wi t hsuf f i ci ent cer t ai nt y. I vanov' s use of t he t er m "ski nheads" t odescr i be hi s at t acker s i mpl i es t hat t hey shared t he commonappearance symbol i c of t hei r group member shi p. Though t hey di d notwear uni f or ms, I vanov coul d al so i dent i f y t hem by t hei r choi ce ofweapons: r ubber bat ons and gl oves i n March 2003 and Mol ot ovcockt ai l s i n Apr i l 2003.

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    I mmi gr at i on & Nat ur al i zat i on Ser v. , 175 F. 3d 732, 735- 36 ( 9t h Ci r .

    1999) ( en banc) ; Osor i o v. I mmi gr at i on & Nat ur al i zat i on Ser v. , 18

    F. 3d 1017, 1028 (2d Ci r . 1994) .

    The f act s of t hi s case i l l ust r at e t he need f or t hi s

    pr i nci pl e. The I J ' s det er mi nat i on t hat t he ski nheads wer e

    mot i vat ed onl y by t hei r "i nt ent i on t o pr of i t by cri mi nal act i vi t y"

    i gnor es bot h the ski nheads' over ar chi ng mi ssi on and t he gr eat er

    pat t er n of r el i gi ousl y- mot i vat ed abuse t hat I vanov suf f er ed. As

    I vanov not ed, t he ski nheads' r ai son d' et r e i s t o "pur i f y the

    Russi an nat i on. " They ar e not or i ousl y xenophobi c, r aci st , ant i -

    Musl i m, ant i - Semi t i c, and, most r el evant l y her e, i nt ol er ant of

    "adher ent s of ' f or ei gn' r el i gi ons. " 19 The ski nheads who at t acked

    I vanov i n Apr i l 2002 may i ndeed have had an economi c i nt erest i n

    cl osi ng t he chur ch' s dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on cent er . But t hey al so, at

    t hei r cor e, undoubt edl y opposed t he cent er ' s r el i gi ous mi ssi on and

    met hods. The cent er ' s rel i gi ous message was i nsepar abl e f r om t he

    servi ce i t per f or med: chur ch vol unt eer s oper at ed t he cent er and

    r i gor ous bi bl e st udy was i nt egr al t o pat i ent s' t r eat ment . I ndeed,

    i t appear s t hat I vanov' s ski nhead assai l ant s r ecogni zed t hi s and

    gave voi ce t o t hei r ant i - r el i gi ous mot i vat i on when t hey t ol d I vanov

    t o f i nd a way t o cl ose t he " sat ani c" cent er . That t hose ski nheads

    may have had an addi t i onal mot i ve f or at t acki ng I vanov cannot

    19 See 2006 Count r y Repor t at 33.

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    r easonabl y be read to ref ut e that t hey wer e al so act i ng upon t he

    cent r al mot i ve under l yi ng t hei r gr oup i dent i t y.

    Thi s i s especi al l y t r ue gi ven t he ot her abuse t hat I vanov

    suf f er ed. Remember , t he Apr i l 2002 at t ack i s onl y one of f our

    event s suppor t i ng I vanov' s asyl um cl ai m. I n t he ot her i nst ances,

    I vanov pr ovi ded speci f i c evi dence of hi s at t acker s' ant i -

    Pent ecost al mot i vat i on. For exampl e, i n November 1999, ski nheads

    at t acked hi s bapt i sm cer emony at a pr ayer house. I n March 2003,

    ski nheads at t acked hi m a f ew days af t er he r ef used t o t est i f y

    agai nst hi s past or . I n Apr i l 2003, unknown assai l ant s t hr ew

    Mol otov cockt ai l s at hi s house t he same ni ght t hat someone at t acked

    t he chur ch' s dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on cent er . Consi der ed i n vi ew of t he

    hi st ory of at t acks agai nst members of hi s chur ch communi t y and

    r el i gi ous i nt ol er ance i n Russi a at - l ar ge, a reasonabl e adj udi cat or

    woul d be compel l ed t o concl ude that each of t he at t acks, i ncl udi ng

    t he at t ack i n Apr i l 2002, was based, "at l east i n par t , " on t he

    i mper mi ssi bl e mot i vat i on of I vanov' s Pent ecost al f ai t h. See

    Sompot an, 533 F. 3d at 69.

    Second, t he I J ' s i nt er pr et at i on of I vanov' s t est i mony

    t hat he f ear ed " t he same l awl essness" i f he r et ur ned t o Russi a t o

    mean t hat I vanov f ear ed "gener al l awl essness" i n Russi a r uns

    count er t o t he r ecor d. The I J appear s t o have const r ued I vanov' s

    st at ement out of cont ext : I vanov sai d he f ear ed " t he same

    l awl essness" i mmedi at el y af t er he descr i bed t he speci f i c i nst ances

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    of abuse di scussed above, but t he I J t ook hi m t o mean he f ear ed

    "l awl essness" i n Russi a gener al l y. To t he cont r ar y, I vanov

    consi st ent l y mai nt ai ned i n hi s appl i cat i on and t est i mony t hat he

    f ear ed i f he r et ur ned t o Russi a ski nheads or gover nment aut hor i t i es

    woul d har m hi m due t o hi s r el i gi ous bel i ef s. 20 The I J ' s monocul ar

    f ocus on I vanov' s r emar k, t o t he excl usi on of t he bal ance of

    I vanov' s st at ement s al l egi ng speci f i c f ear s of t ar get ed

    per secut i on, i s not suppor t ed by t he recor d as a whol e.

    I n sum, vi ewi ng t he r ecor d i n i t s ent i r et y, i ncl udi ng t he

    evi dence t he I J i gnor ed or mi sconst r ued, and r el yi ng on t he I J ' s

    own f i ndi ng t hat I vanov' s t est i mony was gener al l y cr edi bl e, we

    cannot consci ent i ousl y f i nd t he I J ' s det er mi nat i on t hat I vanov di d

    not est abl i sh the r equi si t e nexus bet ween t he per secut i on he

    suf f er ed and hi s Pent ecost al f ai t h i s suppor t ed by subst ant i al

    evi dence. Whi l e we ar e mi ndf ul of t he def er ent i al nat ur e of our

    st andar d of r evi ew, we ar e al so cogni zant of our obl i gat i on t o

    r ej ect t he I J ' s f i ndi ngs i f , as her e, a "r easonabl e adj udi cat or

    20 Ther e i s al so not hi ng i n t he r ecor d t o i ndi cat e t hat Russi ai s awash i n t he t ype of gener al ci vi l st r i f e or vi ol ence t hat wehave hel d woul d not qual i f y an appl i cant f or asyl um. See, e. g. ,Lpez- Cast r o v. Hol der , 577 F. 3d 49, 54 ( 1st Ci r . 2009) ( "Acount r y- wi de r i sk of vi ct i mi zat i on t hr ough economi c t er r or i sm i s

    not t he f unct i onal equi val ent of a st at ut or i l y pr ot ect ed gr ound .. . . ") ; Agui l ar - Sol i s v. I mmi gr at i on & Nat ur al i zat i on Ser v. , 168F. 3d 565, 572 ( 1st Ci r . 1999) ( "Danger r esul t i ng f r ompar t i ci pat i oni n gener al ci vi l st r i f e, wi t hout mor e, does not const i t ut eper secut i on. ") .

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    woul d be compel l ed t o concl ude t o t he cont r ary. " See Precet aj , 649

    F. 3d at 75 ( quot i ng 8 U. S. C. 1252( b) ( 4) ( b) ) . I t i s not t he f i r st

    t i me we have r ej ect ed an I J ' s f i ndi ngs under t hi s st andar d. See,

    e. g. , i d. at 76; Kar t asheva, 582 F. 3d at 105- 06; Sok, 526 F. 3d at

    56, 58; Heng v. Gonzal es, 493 F. 3d 46, 49 ( 1st Ci r . 2007) ;

    Mukamusoni v. Ashcrof t , 390 F. 3d 110, 126 ( 1st Ci r . 2004) . And so

    l ong as our r evi ew i s not "a hol l ow exer ci se i n r ubber - st ampi ng, "

    we doubt i t wi l l be t he l ast . See Cuko v. Mukasey, 522 F. 3d 32, 41

    ( 1st Ci r . 2008) ( Cyr , J . , di ssent i ng) .

    We t her ef or e f i nd t hat I vanov has est abl i shed hi s

    el i gi bi l i t y f or asyl um. Accor di ngl y, we have no need t o pr oceed t o

    Pet i t i oner s' r equest s f or wi t hhol di ng of r emoval or r el i ef under

    CAT, and we do not r each t hem her e.

    Conclusion

    The or der of t he BI A af f i r mi ng t he I J ' s deci si on i s

    vacated and t he mat t er i s r emanded f or pr oceedi ngs consi st ent wi t h

    t hi s deci si on.

    -Dissenting Opinion Follows-

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    KAYATTA, Circuit Judge, dissenting. I respect f ul l y

    di ssent because t he r ecord does not compel us t o r ej ect t he f actual

    f i ndi ngs of t he i mmi gr at i on j udge. The i mmi gr at i on j udge f ound

    t hat t he ser i ous abuse and harassment t o whi ch I vanov cr edi bl y

    est abl i shed he was subj ect ed was not "on account of " hi s r el i gi on.

    Rat her , t he i mmi gr at i on j udge concl uded, I vanov f aced per secut i on

    on account of hi s associ at i on wi t h a dr ug r ehab cent er t hat posed

    a t hr eat t o t he ski nheads' i l l i ci t dr ug t r ade. The i mmi gr at i on

    j udge al so f ound t hat I vanov f ai l ed t o est abl i sh t he r equi r ed nexus

    t o gover nment acqui escence mani f est t hr ough i t s act i on or i nact i on.

    Ei t her of t hese f i ndi ngs, unl ess r ever sed, means t hat I vanov has

    f ai l ed t o est abl i sh an ent i t l ement t o asyl um. See Lpez de

    Hi ncapi e v. Gonzal es, 494 F. 3d 213, 218 ( 1st Ci r . 2007) ( " [ S] howi ng

    a l i nkage t o one of t he f i ve st at ut or i l y pr ot ect ed gr ounds

    [ i ncl udi ng r el i gi on] i s ' cr i t i cal ' t o a successf ul asyl um cl ai m. "

    ( quot i ng I NS v. El i as- Zacar i as, 502 U. S. 478, 483 ( 1992) ) ) ;

    Harut yunyan v. Gonzal es, 421 F. 3d 64, 68 ( 1st Ci r . 2005)

    ( " [ P]er secut i on al ways i mpl i es some connect i on t o gover nment act i on

    or i nact i on. " ) .

    As we have pr evi ousl y hel d, t he quest i on of t he

    per secut or ' s mot i vat i on gener at es a "f act - speci f i c" i nqui r y. Lpez

    de Hi ncapi e, 494 F. 3d at 218. Si mi l ar l y, t he quest i on of whet her

    I vanov est abl i shed a connect i on between t he government and hi s

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    abuse i s al so a f i ndi ng of f act . See Har ut yunyan, 421 F. 3d at

    68. Our r evi ew of bot h f i ndi ngs i s t her ef or e l i mi t ed by t he

    "hi ghl y def er ent i al " subst ant i al evi dence t est . Lar i os v. Hol der ,

    608 F. 3d 105, 107 ( 1st Ci r . 2010) . That t est r equi r es that we

    def er t o the i mmi gr at i on j udge' s f i ndi ngs of f act as l ong as t hose

    f i ndi ngs ar e "suppor t ed by r easonabl e, subst ant i al , and pr obat i ve

    evi dence on t he r ecor d consi der ed as a whol e. " I d. ( quot i ng El i as-

    Zacar i as, 502 U. S. at 481) . As we observed mor e r ecent l y, i n

    pr act i cal t er ms, t he t est t ur ns on whet her we ar e "compel l ed t o

    concl ude t o t he cont r ar y. " Pr ecet aj v. Hol der , 649 F. 3d 72, 75

    ( 1st Ci r . 2011) ( quot i ng 8 U. S. C. 1252( b) ( 4) ( B) ) .

    A. There Is Substantial Evidence to Support the Finding of Fact

    That Ivanov Was Not Persecuted on Account of His Religion and

    Has Not Established a Realistic Risk of Such Persecution in

    the Future.

    I begi n by revi ewi ng I vanov' s t est i mony, whi ch suppor t s

    t he f act ual f i ndi ng t hat t he abuse vi si t ed on ( or f ear ed by) hi m

    was not on account of hi s r el i gi on. I t hen addr ess t he ar gument s

    advanced by t he maj or i t y f or f i ndi ng t hi s evi dence i nsubst ant i al .

    1. Ivanov's Own Testimony Directly Supports the Finding.

    Thi s i s not a case i n whi ch t he i mmi gr at i on j udge

    st r et ched t o dr aw i nf er ences t o suppor t a concl usi on i n t he f ace of

    di r ect evi dence t o t he cont r ar y. I nst ead, t hi s i s a case i n whi ch

    t he di r ect evi dence subst ant i al l y and heavi l y suppor t ed t he f i ndi ng

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    t hat I vanov was not per secut ed on account of hi s rel i gi on. That

    evi dence i s as f ol l ows:

    The ski nheads who assaul t ed I vanov i n 2002 and 2003 wer e

    i n t he i l l egal dr ug t r ade, whi l e I vanov wor ked at a dr ug r ehab

    cent er t hat , he cl ai ms, possessed evi dence of t he ski nheads'

    i l l egal act i vi t y and, i n any event , cut i nt o t hei r busi ness. When

    t he ski nheads ki dnapped I vanov i n Apr i l of 2002 t hey di d so as he

    l ef t t he r ehab cent er . They never demanded t hat he change hi s

    r el i gi on, or st op goi ng t o hi s chur ch. To t he cont r ar y, t hei r

    demands f ocused excl usi vel y on t he rehab cent er .

    On di r ect exam, I vanov vol unt eer ed t he f ol l owi ng

    expl anat i on of why t he ski nheads l ocked hi m up: " t hey want ed me t o

    shut down t he oper at i on of t hi s r ehab and because of t hat t hey

    l ocked me up i n t he basement . " On cr oss, I vanov both r ei nf orced

    hi s t est i mony that t he ski nheads want ed t he dr ug r ehab cent er

    cl osed because i t hur t t hei r busi ness, and unr eservedl y agr eed t hat

    t he cent er ' s Pent ecost al af f i l i at i on was not what gar ner ed t he

    ski nheads' opposi t i on:

    Q: Si r , you t est i f i ed t hat t he ski nheads t hat you sayassaul t ed you when you wer e l eavi ng t he r ehabi l i t at i oncent er want ed you t o cl ose t he cl i ni c or t he cent er andyou say i n your asyl um appl i cat i on t hat t hese ski nheadshad a ver y l ucr at i ve dr ug busi ness, dr ug sal e busi nessand you al so t est i f i ed t oday that t hese ski nheads wer el osi ng money because of t he dr ug r ehabi l i t at i on cent er .That was because t he goal of t he cent er was t o t r y andhel p peopl e get of f dr ugs. I s t hat cor r ect ?

    A: Yes.

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    Q: So they di dn' t want t he cent er shut down because i twas a Pent ecost al cent er . They want ed i t shut downbecause they wer e l osi ng dr ug sal es, cor r ect ?

    A: That i s absol ut el y cor r ect because t hese peopl e havenot a si ngl e not i on about r el i gi on, but any chur ch

    whet her i t be Pr ot est ant or Cat hol i c i t wi l l al so be onopposi t e si de agai nst t he dr ugs.

    2. The Evidence Relied on by the Majority is Either

    Conjectural or, In Any Event, Insufficient to Compel

    Reversal.

    The f or egoi ng evi dence shoul d be enough by i t sel f t o

    suppor t t he deci si on of t he i mmi gr at i on j udge, even i f t he evi dence

    t o the cont r ar y ci t ed by t he maj or i t y wer e as subst ant i al asdescr i bed. I n f act , f or t he f ol l owi ng r easons, much of t hat

    cont r ar y evi dence i s based on conj ect ur e and i s ot her wi se

    r easonabl y vi ewed as not especi al l y subst ant i al .

    The maj or i t y poi nt s t o a second at t ack on I vanov t hat

    occur r ed al most a year af t er t he ski nheads del i ver ed t hei r

    nar r owl y- f ocused demand t hat t he r ehab cent er be shut down. There

    i s no evi dence (much l ess compel l i ng evi dence) t hat t he at t ack was

    on account of I vanov' s r el i gi on. The maj or i t y never t hel ess guesses

    t hat t he at t ack was at t he behest of t he pol i ce, who had t ol d

    I vanov "days" 21 pr evi ousl y that he woul d r egr et not pr ovi di ng

    t est i mony t o suppor t char ges t hat hi s past or was hypnot i zi ng hi s

    par i shi oner s i nt o t i t hi ng t en per cent of t hei r i ncome t o t he

    Pent ecost al chur ch.

    21 I vanov spoke wi t h t he pol i ce of f i cer i n t he "end ofFebr uar y" and was beat en on March 1st .

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    Thi s conj ect ure f al t er s on t wo l evel s. Fi r st , i f

    conj ect ur e i s t he game, t hen i t woul d be equal l y pl ausi bl e t o

    suggest t hat t he ski nheads at t acked I vanov when t hey di d because i t

    was al most one year af t er t hey del i ver ed t hei r own unmet demand

    t hat he cl ose t he r ehab cent er . I n shor t , t he ski nheads had- - and

    expr essed- - t hei r own r easons and t her e i s no need to i magi ne that

    t he pol i ce put t hem up t o t hei r cri me. Addi t i onal l y, even i f one

    wer e t o assume that t he pol i ce of f i cer and the ski nheads wer e i n

    cahoot s, t here i s no r eason t hat one must al so assume t hat

    r el i gi ous ani mus pl ayed any r ol e i n t he r el at i onshi p. Cer t ai nl y

    t he gai ns of an i l l i ci t dr ug t r ade woul d pr ovi de an equal l y i f not

    mor e cust omar y and pl ausi bl e mot i vat i on. The past or , af t er al l ,

    act ual l y r an t he r ehab cent er . I vanov hi msel f pl ai nl y i mpl i ed such

    a dr ug- cent ered nexus:

    [ I ] t ' s a wel l - known and est abl i shed f act t hat , you know,

    al l t he ski nheads and si mi l ar or gani zat i ons are connect edt o t he government st r uct ur e. For exampl e, you know, ourat t empt t o r un t hi s r ehab f or dr ug addi ct s, you know, wasmet wi t h such r esi st ence on t hei r par t and i t ' s a wel l -known f act al so t hat , you know, t hey pr of i t f r omsel l i ngdr ugs . . . .

    Whi l e I vanov' s st at ement i s not di sposi t i ve, i t l eans t owar ds

    suggest i ng t hat money, r at her t han r el i gi ous ani mus, was a common

    i nt er est shar ed by t he ski nheads and t he pol i ce. Cer t ai nl y t he

    i mmi gr at i on j udge was not r equi r ed t o specul at e t o t he cont r ar y.

    The maj or i t y al so poi nt s t o t he f i nal at t ack on I vanov,

    t he 2003 f i r ebombi ng of t he apar t ment he shared wi t h hi s par ent s.

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    Ther e i s not hi ng about t hi s at t ack t o compel t he concl usi on t hat i t

    was mot i vat ed by r el i gi ous ani mus. I t act ual l y coi nci ded wi t h an

    at t ack on t he r ehab cent er t hat same day. The r ehab cent er and

    I vanov ( t he person t he ski nheads knew worked t here) were t heref ore

    agai n t he common f act or i n t he ski nheads' sel ect i on of t ar get s.

    Thi s i s not t o say t hat t here was no evi dence at al l i n

    I vanov' s f avor . The maj or i t y not es t hat t he ski nheads once

    r ef er r ed t o the r ehab cent er as " sat ani c" when t hey hel d hi m

    pr i soner . But a si ngl e use of a r el i gi ousl y- char ged wor d does not ,

    on t hese f act s, compel us t o f i nd t he ski nheads' abuse of I vanov

    was on account of hi s r el i gi on. See Sompot an v. Mukasey, 533 F. 3d

    63, 70 ( 1st Ci r . 2008) . I n Sompotan we r ej ect ed t he argument t hat

    t he i mmi gr at i on j udge was compel l ed to concl ude t hat "hool i gans"

    who r obbed t he pet i t i oner s and t hei r r est aur ant yel l i ng "Chi nese

    bast ar d, cr azy Chr i st i an, cr azy Chi nese" wer e mot i vat ed by

    r el i gi ous and r aci al ani mus r at her t han by a desi r e t o rob, not i ng

    t hat "[ t ] he f act t hat hool i gans woul d st oop t o t he l evel of usi ng

    r aci al s l ur s i s, unf or t unat el y, not sur pr i s i ng. " I d. at 70.

    I ndeed, as not ed above, I vanov hi msel f di d not r egar d hi s

    ki dnappi ng as r el i gi ousl y mot i vat ed. How t hen can a cour t say t hat

    t he i mmi grat i on j udge was compel l ed t o di sagr ee?

    The maj or i t y al so cor r ect l y not es t hat t here i s evi dence

    i n t he r ecor d of ear l i er at t acks not l i mi t ed i n t hei r appar ent

    f ocus t o r ehab cent er act i vi t i es and per sonnel . These at t acks

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    occur r ed i n 1997 ( on the congr egat i on' s of f i ce) , 1999 ( on a

    Pent ecost servi ce at I vanov' s past or ' s house and on I vanov' s

    bapt i sm) , and 2000 ( on a Pent ecost al pr ayer house) . The maj or i t y' s

    vi ew pr esumes t hat t he abuse of I vanov sever al years l ater was a

    r ef ocusi ng of t hese ear l i er , r el i gi ousl y- mot i vat ed at t acks di r ect ed

    at t he chur ch. Under t hi s vi ew, t he ski nheads at t acked t he r ehab

    cent er because i t was both a vi si bl e symbol of t he chur ch and a

    t hr eat t o t hei r dr ug t r ade. Thi s vi ew i s cer t ai nl y pl ausi bl e. I

    am at a l oss, t hough, t o see how i t i s so compel l i ng t hat i t

    r equi r es r ej ect i on of t he al t er nat i ve vi ew adopt ed by t he

    i mmi gr at i on j udge.

    Ther e i s no evi dence compel l i ng us even t o concl ude t hat

    t he same i ndi vi dual s wer e behi nd t he ear l i er and l at er at t acks,

    much l ess t hat t hei r mot i vat i ons remai ned const ant . I ndeed, t her e

    i s no evi dence t hat t he "ski nheads" i nvol ved i n t hese var i ous

    i nci dent s ar e al l par t of a si ngl e gr oup wi t h a uni f i ed and

    di sci pl i ned mi ssi on and mot i vat i on. 22 As chr oni cl ed above, t hose

    i ndi vi dual s behi nd t he l at er at t acks expr essl y l i mi t ed t hei r

    demands t o endi ng t he dr ug r ehab act i vi t y. And cer t ai nl y I vanov' s

    exper i ence i n deal i ng wi t h t hose assai l ant s per secut i ng hi m

    suggest ed t hat gr eed was t hei r monocul ar f ocus. As we hel d bef ore,

    22 I ndeed, I vanov descr i bed t he ski nheads who ki dnapped hi mas "ver y young ki ds" and sai d that "some of t hem" were "ar ound 16. "Thi s suggest s t hat t hey may wel l not have been personal l y i nvol vedi n i nci dent s sever al year s bef or e.

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    wher e the evi dence suggest s a pl ausi bl e mot i vat i on not wi t hi n t he

    ambi t of t he st at ut e' s prot ect i on, we def er t o the choi ce made by

    t he i mmi gr at i on j udge t o deny asyl um on t hat basi s. See Lpez de

    Hi ncapi e v. Gonzal es, 494 F. 3d 213, 219 ( 1st Ci r . 2007) .

    The maj or i t y al so r el i es on evi dence t hat ski nheads i n

    Russi a of t en possessed and acted on r el i gi ous ani mus and t hat t hei r

    acti vi t i es of t en spi ked on t he anni ver sar y of Hi t l er ' s bi r t h. But

    i f t he ski nheads who ki dnapped and l ater beat I vanov shar ed t hat

    r el i gi ous ani mus, f or some unknown reason t hey were remarkabl y

    r el uct ant t o voi ce such vi ews t o I vanov, whi l e never t hel ess maki ng

    f or cef ul l y cl ear t hei r st r ong desi r e t o pr of i t f r om and pr ot ect

    t hei r dr ug t r ade. The f act ual f i ndi ng t hat t he abuse her e,

    di r ect ed at t he rehab cent er and i t s wor ker , was mot i vat ed onl y by

    t he l at t er desi r e i s a t ype of choosi ng among pl ausi bl e scenar i os

    t hat i s wi t hi n t he pur vi ew of t he i mmi gr at i on j udge, not a

    r evi ewi ng cour t . See Amour i v. Hol der , 572 F. 3d 29, 34 ( 1st Ci r .

    2009) ( "The mer e f act t hat t he ext or t i oni st s wer e associ at ed wi t h

    an ext r emi st gr oup [ di d] not compel " us, on i t s own, t o r ever se a

    f i ndi ng t hat pet i t i oner ' s per secut i on was not on account of a

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    pr ot ect ed char act er i st i c because "f anat i ci sm and a l ove of money

    ar e not mut ual l y excl usi ve. ") . 23

    The i mmi grat i on j udge who heard t hi s case was hardl y out

    t o get I vanov. He expr essl y f ound I vanov cr edi bl e i n hi s

    r ecount i ng of event s he had wi t nessed. The i mmi grat i on j udge was

    al so wi l l i ng t o assume t hat t he i nst ances of abuse to whi ch I vanov

    was subj ected over seven years r ose t o t he ver y hi gh l evel of

    act ual per secut i on. Cf . Topal l i v. Gonzal es, 417 F. 3d 128, 129- 32

    ( 1st Ci r . 2005) ( no per secut i on wher e pet i t i oner was ar r est ed,

    det ai ned, and beaten over t he cour se of t hr ee years but never

    r equi r ed medi cal at t ent i on and was not abused f or t hr ee years

    bef ore l eavi ng t he count r y) ; Bocova v. Gonzal es, 412 F. 3d 257, 261-

    63 ( 1st Ci r . 2005) , super seded i n unr el at ed par t by 8 C. F. R.

    1240. 26( i ) , as descr i bed i n Gar f i as- Rodr i guez v. Hol der , 702 F. 3d

    504, 524 ( 9t h Ci r . 2012) ( t wo beat i ngs t went y- f i ve mont hs apar t ,

    one of whi ch caused pet i t i oner t o l ose consci ousness and r equi r e

    hospi t al i zat i on, i nsuf f i ci ent t o compel a f i ndi ng of per secut i on) .

    The maj or i t y r eadi l y adopt s t he i mmi grat i on j udge' s assumpt i on of

    per secut i on and hi s f i ndi ng t hat I vanov was cr edi bl e i n r el at i ng

    23 Nor can t he maj or i t y' s ci t at i ons t o count r y r epor t scont ai ni ng evi dence t hat r el i gi ous ani mus somet i mes mot i vat es

    per secut i on i n Russi a compel a f i ndi ng t hat i t di d so i n t hi s case,wher e t he pet i t i oner has descr i bed a di f f er ent mot i vat i on. SeeSeng v. Hol der , 584 F. 3d 13, 19- 20 ( 1st Ci r . 2009) ( "Wi t hout somespeci f i c, di r ect , and credi bl e evi dence r el at i ve t o her ownsi t uat i on, t her e i s an i nsuf f i ci ent nexus bet ween t he pet i t i onerand t he gener al unr est depi ct ed i n t he count r y condi t i onsreport s . " ) .

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    f act s, but t hen pr oceeds t o cr i t i ci ze t he i mmi gr at i on j udge' s

    r easoni ng si mpl y because he al so chose t o bel i eve I vanov' s

    t est i mony t hat t he par t i cul ar peopl e who at t acked hi m "have not a

    si ngl e not i on about r el i gi on, " and wer e i nst ead mot i vat ed by

    pr ot ect i ng t hei r drug t r ade. The i mmi gr at i on j udge wi t nessed t he

    t est i mony, hear d I vanov' s t one, saw hi s f aci al expr essi ons, and

    concl uded t hat t he t est i mony I have quot ed above was due gr eat

    wei ght .

    Nor can t he St ate Depar t ment ' s Count r y and Rel i gi ous

    FreedomRepor t s per f or mt he wor k assi gned t o themby t he maj or i t y.

    One woul d t hi nk f r om r eadi ng t he maj or i t y' s descr i pt i on of t he

    r epor t s t hat Pent ecost al s coul d l i ve nowher e i n Russi a wi t hout

    f aci ng a r eal i st i c r i sk of act ual per secut i on. The maj or i t y

    pr esumabl y pr of f er s such a descr i pt i on because t he absence of such

    a count r y- wi de hazar d coul d by i t sel f def eat I vanov' s asyl um

    r equest . Tendean v. Gonzal es, 503 F. 3d 8, 11 ( 1st Ci r . 2007)

    ( asyl um appl i cat i on wi l l be deni ed "i f i t i s shown by a

    pr eponder ance of t he evi dence t hat ' [ t ] he appl i cant coul d avoi d

    f ut ur e per secut i on by r el ocat i ng t o anot her par t of t he appl i cant ' s

    count r y . . . and under al l t he ci r cumst ances, i t woul d be

    r easonabl e t o expect t he appl i cant t o do so. ' " ( quot i ng 8 C. F. R.

    1208. 13( b) ( 1) ( i ) ( B) ) ( al t er at i on i n or i gi nal ) ) .

    The 2006 Count r y Repor t , however , r epor t s no act s of

    act ual per secut i on of Pent ecost al s t hr oughout al l of Russi a i n t he

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    pr evi ous year . Even r epor t s of l esser degr ees of har assment of

    Pent ecost al s decr eased dur i ng 2006, f ol l owi ng t he appoi nt ment of

    Pent ecost al Bi shop Ser gey Ryakhovski y t o Russi a' s Publ i c Chamber . 24

    Uni t ed Stat es Depar t ment of Stat e, Bureau of Democr acy, Human

    Ri ght s, and Labor , Count r y Report on Human Ri ght s Pract i ces i n

    Russi a at 20 ( Mar . 2007) , avai l abl e at ht t p: / / www. st at e. gov/ j /

    dr l / r l s/ hr r pt / 2006/ 78835. ht m [ her ei naf t er 2006 Count r y Repor t ] .

    These r epor t s bel i e t he not i on t hat I vanov, mer el y because he i s

    Pent ecost al , cannot l i ve i n Russi a wi t hout a r i sk of act ual

    per secut i on.

    B. There Is Sufficient Evidence to Support the Finding of Fact

    That There Was an Insufficient Nexus between the Russian

    Government and the Abuse of Ivanov.

    The l aw al so r equi r es t hat I vanov prove t hat t he persons

    who per secut ed hi m wer e "al i gned wi t h the gover nment " or t hat t he

    gover nment was " unwi l l i ng or unabl e t o cont r ol [ t he vi ol ence. ] "

    Bur bi ene v. Hol der , 568 F. 3d 251, 255 ( 1st Ci r . 2009) . The

    maj or i t y' s concl usi on t hat I vanov made such a showi ng i s based

    par t l y on conj ect ur e, appear s t o be t he pr oduct of st er eot ypi cal

    t hi nki ng about Russi an l aw enf orcement ber ef t of any sense of

    cont ext , and cer t ai nl y f ai l s t o pr ovi de a compel l i ng case f or

    24 The Publ i c Chamber was est abl i shed t o r epr esent ci vi lsoci et y and t o f ost er t ol er ance. I t was di r ect ed by Pr esi dentPut i n. Uni t ed St at es Depar t ment of St ate, Bur eau of Democracy,Human Ri ght s, and Labor , I nt er nat i onal Rel i gi ous Fr eedomRepor t f orRussi a at 13 ( Sept . 2006) , avai l abl e at ht t p: / / www. st at e. gov/j / dr l / r l s/ i r f / 2006/ 71403. ht m [ herei naf t er 2006 Rel i gi ous Fr eedomRepor t ] .

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    r ej ect i ng t he cont r ar y concl usi on of t he i mmi gr at i on j udge, who

    f ound I vanov' s cl ai ms i n t hi s r egar d t o r est on " specul at i on. "

    Fi r st , t he maj or i t y i mpl i es t hat t he ki dnappi ng of I vanov

    was ai ded by t he pol i ce merel y because t he ki dnappi ng occur r ed some

    uncer t ai n number of days af t er t he pol i ce t ol d hi mt hat he woul d be

    sor r y f or r ef usi ng t o accede t o a pol i ce of f i cer ' s demand t hat he

    pr ovi de i ncr i mi nat i ng t est i mony i n an i nvest i gat i on of hi s past or .

    I addr essed t hi s conj ect ur e i n Par t A2 of t hi s opi ni on.

    Second, t he maj or i t y ci t es excer pt s f r omSt at e Depar t ment

    r epor t s r ecount i ng ot her i nci dent s i n Russi a (a count r y of r oughl y

    143 mi l l i on peopl e, 2006 Count r y Report at 1) wher e the aut hor i t i es

    wer e, i n t he maj or i t y' s wor ds, "l ackl ust er " i n t hei r r esponses t o

    r epor t s of r el i gi ous at t acks and t hat ar r est s wer e "ext r emel y

    i nf r equent and convi ct i ons r ar e. " 2006 Count r y Repor t at 20. The

    maj or i t y' s use of such excer pt s i s sel ect i ve, omi t t i ng, f or

    exampl e, t he f act t hat t he 2006 and 2007 Rel i gi ous Fr eedomRepor t s

    descri be i n det ai l onl y a si ngl e i nci dent , i n a nat i on cont ai ni ng

    appr oxi mat el y 1, 500 Pent ecost al gr oups, 2006 Rel i gi ous Fr eedom

    Repor t at 1, of vi ol ence agai nst i ndi vi dual Pent ecost al s whi ch

    coul d pl ausi bl y r i se t o t he ser i ous l evel of abuse suf f i ci ent t o

    suppor t an asyl um cl ai m. That i nci dent was an at t ack by "yout hs"

    i n ear l y 2005 on Pent ecost al s hol di ng a pr otest i n Moscow. 2006

    Count r y Repor t at 20. Ther e i s no i ndi cat i on i n t he r ecor d of

    whet her t hi s i nci dent was i nvest i gat ed expedi t i ousl y. I d. Ther e

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    ar e no r epor t s of i ndi vi dual Evangel i cal s, or any Chr i st i ans,

    suf f er i ng abuse comparabl e t o t hat whi ch I vanov descr i bed bei ng

    di r ect ed at hi m per sonal l y, l et al one evi dence t hat gover nment

    of f i ci al s acqui esced t o such abuse.

    The same r epor t al so st at es t hat i n February of 1997

    Russi an aut hor i t i es obt ai ned t he convi ct i ons of f i ve ski nheads f or

    an ant i - Semi t i c mur der , and t hat "[ f ] eder al and r egi onal of f i ci al s

    par t i ci pat ed act i vel y i n, and i n many cases st r ongl y suppor t ed, a

    r ange of government and NGO- or gani zed progr ams t o promot e

    t ol er ance. " Uni t ed St ates Depart ment of St ate, Bur eau Democracy,

    Human Ri ght s, and Labor , I nt er nat i onal Rel i gi ous Fr eedomRepor t f or

    Russi a at 9 ( Sept . 2007) , avai l abl e at ht t p: / / www. st at e. gov/ j /

    dr l / r l s/ i r f / 2007/ 90196. ht m. The same r epor t f ur t her r el at es t hat

    i n l at e 2006 a Russi an cour t r ul ed i n f avor of t he Pent ecost al

    Chur ch' s abi l i t y to r egi st er i t s pr oper t y, and t he gr oup r epor t ed

    no f ur t her har assment . I d.

    Thi r d, t he maj or i t y' s heavy r el i ance on t he f act t hat

    I vanov was unawar e of any i nvest i gat i ons or ar r est s ar i si ng out of

    t he cr i mes he descr i bed evi dences a l ack of per spect i ve and

    cont ext . Cer t ai nl y t he f ai l ur e of t he pol i ce t o i nt er vi ew I vanov

    af t er he was r el eased by hi s capt or s coul d suppor t a f i ndi ng t hat

    t hei r i nvest i gat i on af t er t he f act was l ackl ust er . On t he ot her

    hand, t he act ual r ecor d i s t hat t he pol i ce t ol d I vanov' s par ent s

    t hat t hey woul d l ook f or hi mwhen hi s par ent s r epor t ed hi mmi ssi ng.

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    The f act t hat t hey di d not f i nd hi m wi t hi n t wo days i n a ci t y of

    over one mi l l i on peopl e, Li br ar y of Congr ess, Russi a: A Count r y

    St udy ( 1998) , avai l abl e at ht t p: / / l cweb2. l oc. gov/ f r d/ cs/ r ut oc. ht ml ,

    hardl y pr oves anyt hi ng. And t he unst ated assumpt i on t hat I vanov

    woul d have been aware of i nvest i gat i ons concer ni ng the ot her event s

    he descr i bed i s not compel l i ng. Al l i n al l , t hi s i s not a r ecor d

    t hat compel s a f i ndi ng t hat t he pol i ce wer e al i gned wi t h t he peopl e

    who at t acked I vanov or unwi l l i ng or unabl e t o do thei r j obs.

    To put al l of t he f or egoi ng i n perspect i ve and provi de

    t he cont ext mi ssi ng f r om t he maj or i t y' s di scussi on, one need onl y

    l ook at t hi s count r y. Accor di ng t o t he Oct ober 1998 Repor t of t he

    Nat i onal Chur ch Ar son Task For ce, i n l ess t han f our year s t her e

    were 670 ar sons, bombi ngs or at t empt ed bombi ngs of houses of

    wor shi p i n t he Uni t ed St at es. Nat i onal Chur ch Ar son Task For ce,

    Second Year Repor t f or t he Pr esi dent ( Oct . 1998) , avai l abl e at

    ht t p: / / www. j ust i ce. gov/ cr t / chur ch_ar son/ ar son98. php. Even i n t he

    wake of a nat i onal l y coor di nat ed i nvest i gat i ve ef f or t , ar r est s

    wer e made i n connect i on wi t h onl y 230 of t he 670 i nci dent s ( a

    hi gher r at e t han t ypi cal f or si mi l ar cr i mes, accor di ng t o t he Task

    For ce) . I d.

    I do not pr esume f r omt hese f act s t hat chur chgoer s i n t he

    Uni t ed St ates f ace per secut i on wi t h gover nment acqui escence. To

    t he cont r ar y, i f I vanov ci t ed t hese f act s t o suggest t hat he coul d

    not saf el y l i ve i n t he Uni t ed St at es wi t hout f aci ng per secut i on, I

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    hope t hat we woul d r ej ect such a suggest i on. And when we have a

    r ecord r eport i ng no hi gher r ates of bombi ng or unsol ved bombi ngs i n

    Russi a, and an unsol ved i nci dent of abuse of a dr ug rehab worker by

    dr ug deal er s i n Chel yabi nsk ( a ci t y of mor e t han 1 mi l l i on peopl e) ,

    I do not see why an i mmi grat i on j udge cannot f i nd as a mat t er of

    f act t hat I vanov does not f ace t he r equi si t e r i sk of gover nment

    r el at ed per secut i on shoul d he ret ur n t o Russi a.

    Of cour se, I am now ar gui ng t he wei ght of t he f act s,

    whi ch I need not do. Al l I need show i s t hat t he f act s ar e not so

    hef t y and one- si ded as t o compel t he concl usi on t hat t hey must be

    wei ghed as t he maj or i t y wei ghs t hem.

    C. Conclusion

    At base, t he maj or i t y appear s t o act on a convi ct i on t hat

    i f many so- cal l ed ski nheads possess a st r ong ani mus agai nst

    Pent ecost al s as mani f est i n pr i or act s of har assment and abuse, and

    Pent ecost al s oper at e a r ehab cent er f or r el i gi ous r easons usi ng

    r el i gi ous met hods, t hen any ski nheads' l at er abuse of oper at or s of

    t hat cent er must necessar i l y be, at l east i n par t , on account of

    t he ski nheads' r el i gi ous ani mus. I f ear t hat such a convi ct i on

    under - appr eci ates t he compl exi t i es of human behavi or , and

    subst i t ut es st er eot ypi cal t hi nki ng f or al l egi ance t o t he act ual

    f act s as descr i bed by I vanov hi msel f . Si mi l ar l y, t he maj or i t y

    f i l l s hol es i n I vanov' s case wi t h conj ect ur e about what t he pol i ce

    di d and di d not do, al l r est i ng i n par t on what seems t o be an

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    unr eal i st i c assumpt i on about t he ai ms and ef f i ci ency of pol i ce wor k

    i n Russi a. Mor e i mpor t ant l y, even accept i ng t hat convi ct i on as

    pl ausi bl e, on t hi s r ecor d i t i s not so compel l i ng as t o over bear

    t he def erence due t o t he ampl y support ed f i ndi ngs of f act by an

    i mmi gr at i on j udge who deci ded t hat I vanov coul d pr act i ce hi s f ai t h

    i n Russi a wi t hout per secut i on on account of t hat f ai t h. I must

    t her ef ore concl ude t hat , not wi t hst andi ng our shar ed sympat hy f or

    I vanov' s desi r e t o remai n i n t hi s count r y, t he r ecor d cont ai ns

    subst ant i al enough evi dence t o r equi r e t hat we def er t o t he

    f i ndi ngs of t he i mmi gr at i on j udge.


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