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President of the Human Rights Council at the RF President, personally protested to the President stating that the law encroaches on the fundamental constitutional principle


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As of July 20 this year, and ordinary Russian citizens and foreigners residing in Russia, faced with huge fines for publicly display their beliefs, even if they allow it at home. This reflected a new level of repression of freedom of expression and civil society in post-Soviet Russia. According to the observations of the Centre for Humanitarian Technologies government restrictions on free religion in Russia in recent years, constantly being tightened, bringing the country to the top of the bar in a number of violators of religious freedom.

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Today, restrictions have been placed on the fact that religious people can not speak, even within their own home, so that Russia is already included in a number of countries, such as Vietnam, which also prohibits the exchange of religious beliefs outside places of worship. Mikhail Odintsov, who until recently was responsible for the protection of the rights of believers in the Russian Federation to the Ombudsman, noted that "in the religious policy, we have come to the norms of the USSR."

In July, the new bill (known colloquially named after one of its authors as "the law of Spring") was introduced a number of amendments to the "anti-extremist legislation". The provisions relating to religion were introduced into it five days before the second reading and adopted without public discussion, despite the expression of a wide public protest. Despite the fact that the law is determined by name, as the anti-extremist, he is best suited for use in order to strengthen the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Russia. In recent years there has been the introduction of increasingly repressive amendments to the laws on Russian non-profit and religious organizations, as well as designed to unconstitutional methods to discriminate against religious minorities, NGOs and journalists ...

In accordance with the current legislation on extremism, for example, it opened a criminal case against the followers of Jehovah's Witnesses and at the border confiscated their religious literature, preparing the ground for the liquidation of a religious organization. While violence by extremists on religious or other motivations of their actions is, as everywhere, a real problem in Russia, the concept of "extremism" is used as a shortcut for hanging it on the unpopular from a group of administrators who pose no threat to the state .. .

Height of repression against civil society, combined with the spread of frightening rumors about "predatory foreign religions" form a toxic mix. After the fall of the Soviet Union in Russia expressed concern over the perception of wealthy foreigners coming into the country to create their own religious communities at the expense of Russian Orthodoxy and weakened the Soviet system. After 70 years of state persecution of people for their religious beliefs and all religions it is, perhaps, was understandable. However, "the protection of Orthodoxy" is now perceived as matching a strategic national interests.

In 2000, the Russian federal official made a statement on national security policy, saying that the priorities "of the Russian Federation's national security also include the protection of the. . . spiritual and moral heritage "and" opposition to suggest the negative influence of foreign religious organizations and missionaries. "

Spring Act expands the definition of extremism and combines it with a "national security" in the form of protection from the preaching work. It is an extensive ban on most forms of missionary activity, including joint confession of their beliefs in private homes of citizens. Missionary activity, defined as "activities of religious organizations aimed at the dissemination of information about his teaching (including the exchange of information online) among non-participants" can be carried out by persons with documented authorized by their religious associations and proof that their organizations registered.

Authorized representatives can participate in missionary activity only in the church and preach in the territory of the region, which registered respective religious organization or group. The same actions are prohibited in residential areas as well as an attempt to circumvent the law, by the conversion of residential premises in the target - for religious use. Persons who violate the law must pay a fine of 5000 to 50 000 (in the amount of six weeks, the average wage, or US $ 780).

Organizations are responsible for the violations committed by its members and may be fined from 100 000 to 1 000 000 and eliminated.
Participation of foreign missionaries, the new law also limited: they can be invited to the country of the religious organization with which they shall be an agreement, and representative offices of foreign religious organizations (foreign religions that do not receive local or national registration) may not engage in missionary activity.

Article vaguely formulated law is unclear and it is not clear how they can be interpreted. The law includes a ban on any missionary activity, which is aimed at "disturbing public security and public order; extremist activity, coercion into destroying the family "," damage morals "and" the conviction of persons to refuse to perform civil duties established by law. " The offer is so broad categories is impossible for people to be able to clearly define what they can do. "Refuses to perform civil obligations", for example, is a broad category, is used in Soviet times for the imprisonment of religious dissidents.
Many ambiguities. What is illegal missionary work, if the "missionary" does not belong to a registered religious organization? What activities are missionary - "church services" or "religious rites and sacraments" (which are permitted in residential buildings), and the conditions under which this activity is illegal "missionary"?

Several people in different regions of the country have been prosecuted under the law, and these precedents suggest that the law will be interpreted broadly. For example, a citizen of Ghana, was convicted on August 1 for the baptism in the pool, rented in the resort, although it is claimed that does not seek to attract new members. Independent American Baptist preacher was fined August 14 for holding a prayer meeting at his home, because he was allegedly told about it on the bulletin board in the backyard.

In connection with the controversy of the new law of the Constitution it is hoped that it will be canceled. The law clearly violates Russia's constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and religion, as well as international commitments of the Russian Federation on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Russian legislation and international standards provide every opportunity for the formation of laws that would protect the state from the real threats of violence but prohibits citizens exchange views Spring Law expressly directed against religious expression and harm law-abiding citizens.

Mikhail Fedotov, chairman of the Civil Society and Human Rights Development Council under the Russian President, personally protested Putin said that the law "creates an unreasonable and excessive restrictions on the freedom of conscience of believers of all religions, and encroaches on the fundamental constitutional principle of non-interference in the internal structure of religious associations ".

Elizabeth A. CLARK - Doctor of Law, Professor, Deputy Director of the International Center for Law and Religious Studies of the University of Brigham Young.

http://www.religiopolis.org/

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As of July 20 this year, and ordinary Russian citizens and foreigners residing in Russia, faced with huge fines for publicly display their beliefs, even if they allow it at home. This reflected a new

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