Foreign Christian students targeted by Russia’s security services

Foreign Christian students targeted by Russia’s security services
Foreign students of Pentecostal churches in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region have become a particular target for the authorities under the so-called “anti-missionary” law introduced two years ago, Forum 18 reports. The vague definition of “missionary activity” in the law, officially titled the Yarovaya Law after one of its authors, has meant that law . . . Read More

A ‘dire time for human rights in Russia’ as World Cup begins

The 2018 FIFA World Cup started today with a kick-off at the Luzhniki stadium in the capital Moscow. (Photo: Sandra Montanez - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
“This is a very dire time for human rights in Russia,” according to the Russia programme director for Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina, speaking ahead of the start of the 2018 Football World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow earlier today. Since Vladimir Putin became Russia’s president again in 2012 . . . Read More

Russia: new ruling could reduce prosecutions under ‘anti-missionary’ law

Russia's Constitutional Court
Lawyers working for Christian and other minority religious organisations in Russia have welcomed a Constitutional Court ruling over the country’s so-called “anti-missionary law”, reports regional news agency Forum 18. The March ruling helps to partially clarify what is missionary activity. It stated that “giving information about religious events would constitute . . . Read More

Rights group tells Russia to ‘properly respect’ religious freedom

Rights group tells Russia to ‘properly respect’ religious freedom
Religious freedom advocate ADF International is today (7 March) filing a third-party brief with the European Court of Human Rights, arguing “for the right to religious freedom to be properly respected in Russia”. (Such a brief is a statement by a third party, usually an NGO or academic, which has . . . Read More

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