US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More

Cautious welcome to Russia’s praise of Protestantism

Cautious welcome to Russia’s praise of Protestantism
A senior official in the Putin administration has acknowledged the “value” Protestants bring to Russian society, reports Radio Free Europe. Marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, First Deputy Chief Sergei Kiriyenko said: “The followers of the Reformation idea appeared in our country immediately after it started. Those people contributed . . . Read More

Growing list of Christians charged under Russia’s ‘anti-missionary law’

Growing list of Christians charged under Russia’s ‘anti-missionary law’
A year on from Russia introducing its “anti-missionary bill” in July 2016, more than 180 cases have been brought before court, with prosecutions steadily increasing throughout the 12-month period. The list of cases against 129 individuals and 52 religious communities, published by regional news agency Forum 18, includes missionary activity . . . Read More

Crimea also affected in first year of Russia’s ‘anti-missionary law’

A cross seen over the construction site of a bridge across the Strait of Kerch linking Crimea to mainland Russia. (Photo by Vladimir Smirnov via Getty Images)
Since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed into law what some commentators referred to as an “anti-missionary bill” in July last year, individuals and groups have been targeted because of their religious affiliation in both Russia and the annexed Crimea. After the annexation in March 2014, religious organisations in Crimea had . . . Read More

Russia outlaws Jehovah’s Witnesses as ‘extremist group’

The administrative centre of the Jehovah's Witnesses based in the town of Solnechnoye in the federal city of St Petersburg, Russia. The Supreme Court has ordered the disbanding of the group. It needs to hand over all its assets and property to the Russian government. (Photo: Getty Images)
Russia’s Supreme Court yesterday (17 July) rejected an appeal by the Jehovah’s Witnesses against a ruling in April which declared it to be “extremist” and has ordered the disbanding of the group on Russian territory. “The justice ministry had argued that the group distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other . . . Read More