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 Pentecostals butter-up Kremlin


THOUGHT CLONES FOR RENT

In the struggle for traditional values Pentecostals were able to do an end-around RPTs

by Boris Falikov

Gazeta.ru, 8 November 2013

 

By inviting to Moscow an eccentric psychologist, Paul Cameron, whom nobody in the scientific community takes seriously, Russian Pentecostals have demonstrated not only their usefulness to the authorities but also that the desire to affirm traditional values does not have state boundaries.

 

Russian Pentecostals recently invited to Moscow Paul Cameron. The American Cameron is a veteran of the struggle against homosexuality, which he began back in the 1980s. As a certified psychologist, he tried to show that homosexuals not only commit sexual crimes more often than the average public but also die much earlier.  In general, there is little that distinguishes them from drug addicts and thus the "eye for eye" pertains to them.

 

Initially colleagues did not pay attention to Cameron's outlandish revelations, and he was published in questionable journals that charge writers for publication. But when they paid attention they were shocked: he not only manipulated data of his own research but also distorted data in that of others. The American Psychological Association first took up his activity and in 1983 expelled Cameron for refusal to explain himself. Three years later the American Sociological Association disowned him, accusing him of systematic distortion of sociological data.

 

Since then, few in his native land have taken Cameron seriously. Indeed, how can one take seriously a person who declares President Obama to be gay and affirms that nontraditional sex is more satisfying and thus humanity will simply die out by giving gays carte blanche? To keep this from happening, Cameron even created the Family Research Institute, which defends the traditional core of society from alluring temptations.

 

Even his allies in the crusade against gays—religious conservatives—they also treat him with caution. Why is this strange marginal figure attractive to Russian Pentecostals?

 

For the sake of fairness one must say that they were not the first ones to be interested in Cameron. Back in 2008 he was invited to Moscow by the sociology faculty of MGU, which is notorious for its adherence to traditional values.

 

Then the RPTs heard about the brave warrior against gays and asked for an exchange of experience. After several years he turned out to be useful in Moldavia, where the church was leading the fight against the law on guaranteeing equality. The law, which was directed particularly against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, was urged upon the Moldavian government for integration into the European Union. But the church said: No.

 

But now Russia's turn has come again. Whereas five years ago Cameron's visit remained little noticed, now Moscow greeted him with fanfares. And not just anywhere, but in the State Duma. The views of the American guest echo the ideas of our legislators, who are now no less eccentrically protecting children and youth from the propaganda of improper relations.

 

It seems that even the guest himself did not expect such unity and he was touched and acknowledged that from now on his hopes for the future were tied to Russia.

 

From his point of view, Cameron is right. His research, which is in shatters with the scientific community and ridiculed by the general public, can hardly be greeted with such childish joy anywhere else. Only in Moldavia. But now what about the Russian Pentecostals?

 

In order to answer this question one must turn to history. Pentecostalism arose in North America among conservative evangelical Christians at the very beginning of the last century. Seven years ago there was celebrated in USA the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. It was there that the flock of a black-skinned preacher, William Seymour, began receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit: speaking in tongues (glossolalia), healing, prophecy—in a word, everything that happened with the apostles in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost.

 

Since then the movement has spread throughout the world. At first it nourished only dark-skinned and marginalized whites but now it draws rather broad social strata. However its true success has been achieved with gusto in the population of the "global south," in the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is not surprising that according to some estimates it comprises more than 60 million people.

 

Pentecostalism reached Russia back at the start of the last century. At the end of this year its Russian adherents have planned to celebrate their centennial jubilee from the day of the opening of the first church in St. Petersburg. For them this is something to be proud of: of the 1.5 million Russian protestants they constitute more than half and the number of new churches is growing rapidly, especially in Siberia, the Far East, and in the south of the country. But the Russian Orthodox Church does not rejoice in these successes.

 

Unable to compete with such evangelistic pressure, the RPTs is facing the Pentecostals with spears. Orthodox sect-fighters declare them enemies not only of the church but also of society, sinister sectarians who manipulate people using subtle psychological techniques, brain-washing, zombification, and other fantastic things. And they have almost nothing to do with Christianity.

 

It is not surprising that trying to ward off these attacks and winning for themselves a place in the sun, Pentecostals with all their might are showing Russian authorities their loyalty and usefulness. It is not very difficult to demonstrate their usefulness. Pentecostals hold extremely conservative views, which cannot help but be to the taste of the authorities who are serious about the affirmation of traditional values.

 

The ruling bishop of the Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith (ROSKhVE), Sergei Riakhovskii, is a member of the presidential council and the Public Chamber of the Russian federation, where he competes with RPTs in the work of protecting Russia from moral degradation.

 

But now things are not so simple with the matter of loyalty. How do you show that you are a true patriot when it is known that your spiritual motherland is the United States? And this worries Pentecostals. Perhaps not all is lost, since they ardently fought against the "Twice Two" channel that enticed Russian youth with the American series "South Park."

 

Pentecostals lost that battle, but the seed of doubt was sown in the mind of the Russian authorities. So only true patriots can fight the foreign threat.

 

So here is a new nontrivial move—summon such a guest from across the sea, who will turn out to be a no less trivial fighter against immorality than the State Duma itself. So that there is no point in suspecting Pentecostals of a suspicious foreign origin any more. There are, you understand, such high values that unite beyond all state boundaries. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 November 2013)


Russia Religion News Current News Items


Muslim conflict abates


EXTRAORDINARY KURULTAI SMOOTHS SPLIT AMONG NIZHEGOROD MUSLIMS

by Anna Pavlova

Kommersant (Nizhny Novgorod), 8 November 2013

 

In Nizhny Novgorod province, an extraordinary kurultai (Tatar, congress of delegates) of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of the region (DUMNO) was organized because of the protracted conflict surrounding the chair of director of the board between Umar Idrisov, who headed DUMNO from 1991 to 2008, and the current chairman of DUMNO, Gaiaz Zakirov. In the extraordinary election of the head of the board, senior clergy supported the latter. Experts assume that this will not end the conflict in the Nizhegorod Muslim community.

 

At the extraordinary congress of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of Nizhegorod province (DUMNO), there were 85 of the 93 delegates from local regional communities. The extraordinary kurultai, which had been scheduled for March of next year, was called by the chairman of DUMNO, Gaiaz Zakirov, who has headed the board since 2008. The election of the head of DUMNO was held at the congress. In the end, 76 imams voted for the only candidate, Gaiaz Zakirov, three participants in the congress were opposed, and six persons abstained. In addition, in the session members of DUMNO adopted changes in the charter of the organization, specifically providing for its affiliation with the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of the European Part of Russia (DUMER) and membership in the Council of Muftis of Russia, from which the Nizhny Novgorod Muslim community had previously withdrawn.

 

The congress was actually the consequence of a conflict that broke out in the Muslim community of Nizhegorod province and in September resulted in a series of clashes in mosques between supporters of the current chairman of DUMNO, Gaiaz Zakirov, and of Umar Idrisov, who headed the regional ecclesiastical board from 1991 and in 2008 voluntarily refused election to another term. According to the account of the current leadership, Umar Idrisov tried to recover for himself the leadership positions in the Muslim community and to seize power in the regional ecclesiastical board, including reelection as chairman of local religious organizations of Muslims. Late in September a congress of imams and members of the plenum of DUMNO dismissed Umar Idrisov from all offices he occupied, including the post of chairman of the Council of Elders of DUMNO and from the rank of imam. Umar Idrisov himself and his supporters called the clashes in the mosques attempts to attack the former head of DUMNO, allegedly initiated by the current leadership of the ecclesiastical board. According to information of NIA "Nizhny Novgorod," Umar Idrison submitted a statement to UMVD [Directorate of Ministry of Internal Affairs—tr.] and the prosecutor's office in which he demanded that the attackers be held criminally liable.

 

Commenting on the results of the extraordinary congress of DUMNO, Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Council of Muftis and chairman of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of the European Part of Russia (DUMEP), who was present at the session, stated that the conflict had been eliminated: "A compromise was found. We put the question to an open discussion of a congress of Muslims of Nizhegorod province, and the congress indicated that there is no split. For us it is important that Muslims be united, and the results of the congress confirmed that we had come through the incident that occurred in a dignified manner." According to the head of DUMER, the presidium of the board supported the candidacy of Gaiaz Zakirov. "Everybody has their own ambitions, wishes, and goals, but all of this was left behind for the sake of the common cause. And we decided today that we will work together and there will be no outrages in the Nizhny Novgorod region," Ravil Gainutdin promised.

 

Umar Idrisov did not attend the congress, citing illness. Yesterday attempts to get his comment did not succeed. According to information of the DUMNO press service, the chairman of the Council of Muftis met with Umar Idrison in October and proposed returning to him the post of imam hatip of the Nizhegorod cathedral mosque and he also talked with him by phone before the congress. On his part, Gaiaz Zakirov reported that the congress was attended by supporters and proxies of Umar Idrison. "It is understood that the initiator of the conflict had his own ambitions, but the idea that we are opposed does not correspond with reality. We have worked together for 25 years and this has produced a striking demonstration of strength, but I am sure that we will overcome this; the concept of humility must be present," Gaiaz Zakirov stated.

 

Experts doubt that the extraordinary congress and even the intervention of the Council of Muftis will be able to finally snuff out the conflict within the Nizhegorod Muslim community. "In this situation, Ravil Gainutdin has functioned as a good 'third party,' and this is correct, because in many regions such conflicts take on a protracted character. He is an authoritative person and he makes decisions very carefully and cautiously, evaluating the situation from all angles. And if he supports the current head of DUMNO, that means that there are weighty reasons for this, both formal ones, the decision of the kurultai, and informal ones, for example, support on the part of local authorities," Anatoly Pchelintsev, editor of the magazine Religiia i Pravo and professor of the Center for the Study of Religions of RGGU, explains the formal reconciliation of the sides. Meanwhile, the expert thinks that the conflict within the Muslim community still remains, although it has acquired a sluggish character: "Now the advantage is on one side, but a struggle for power is characteristic for Muslim communities in Russia and it may continue, especially if the sides take recourse to secular justice. Although holding the office of director of DUMNO is not advantageous, especially nowadays within the framework of the struggle with terrorism where the state follows every step of the heads of Muslim communities." (tr. by PDS, posted 8 November 2013)


Russian original posted on Interfax-Religiia site, 8 November 2013


Russia Religion News Current News Items


Putin may bring pope and patriarch together


MEETING FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN SCHEDULED AT MOST SACRED LEVEL

Vatican awaits the president of the Russian federation

by Pavel Korobov

Kommersant, 8 November 2013

 

Yesterday the Vatican announced that late in November there will be a meeting of Pope Francis with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Roman Catholic Church does not rule out that the conversations will provide an impetus to patching up relations between the Moscow patriarchate and the Catholic church, specifically that Vladimir Putin's visit could lead to a historic meeting of the pontiff and the patriarch. In this regard, experts note that the president already has experience of fixing church conflicts: he acted in the capacity of mediator in the process of the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) with the Moscow patriarchate.

 

The visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Vatican and his meeting with Pope Francis was reported to the Reuters news agency yesterday by an unnamed source in the Vatican. "The Roman Catholic church is striving for improvement of relations with the Russian Orthodox Church," the report says. "There is the hope that soon there will be a historic meeting between the pope and the patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus." The Kremlin press service yesterday confirmed that the meeting of the Russian president with the pope "has been arranged within the framework of preparing the visit of the Russian president to Italy, which is scheduled for 25-26 November." However, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Kommersant that he does not know whether the head of state will touch upon the topic of a possible dialogue of the pope with the patriarch.

 

We recall that problems in the relations of the Holy See and RPTs intensified early in the 90s of the last century, when the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine began seizing Orthodox churches in western Ukraine. Yet another factor in the worsening of relations was the transformation in 2002 by the Catholic church of its administrative structures in Russia and also missionary activity on the canonical territory of RPTs. Because of all these conflict situations, Patriarch Alexis II cancelled a personal meeting with the head of the Roman Catholic Church John Paul II (it had been planned in 1997 in Austria). However, under Pope Benedict XVI substantial efforts were made at reconciling the two churches. Although negotiations of the pontiff and patriarch still did not occur for the same reasons. "A meeting of the pope with the patriarch is important, because it will show that the disagreements that have interfered with normal relations between the two largest Christian churches have been overcome," explained Anatoly Pchelintsev, professor of the Center for the Study of Religions of the Russian State Humanities University.

 

"Most likely the topic of the relations between the churches will be touched on indirectly in the meeting of the president with the pope," thinks an employee of the secretariat for interchristian relations of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, priest Aleksei Dikarev. "We are prepared to cooperate with the Roman Catholic Church in the area of culture and we have similar positions on resolving the conflict in Syria." Nevertheless he said that preparations for private talks of the leaders of the two churches are not now being conducted.

 

The representation of the Holy See in the Russian federation refrained from official comment yesterday. However, the leader of Russian Catholics, Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of the archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, said in an interview with Kommersant (see issue of 27 June 2013) that "nothing is preventing a meeting in principle." "But, as the RPTs says, it must be arranged in the proper way so that it will not simply be an event for show," the archbishop explained. "For this it is necessary, perhaps, to do specific things." To be sure, what is necessary to do, Mr. Pezzi had difficulty saying.

 

"Vladimir Putin has experience in fixing conflicts; in particular, it was with his participation in 2007 that the reunification of ROCOR with RPTs occurred," Mr. Pchelintsev recalled. "If the pope meets with the patriarch during Putin's administration, he will go into history as the head of state with whose participation the first historic meeting of the patriarch with the Roman pontiff occurred." In the expert's opinion, the good relations of Vladimir Putin with Patriarch Kirill give rise to speculation that the president may this time also be involved as a mediator in fixing disagreements. In this regard it is necessary to note that Vladimir Putin's visit to Rome will be preceded by a trip to the Vatican by the head of the foreign affairs department of RPTs, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 November 2013)

 

Russian original posted on Portal-credo.ru site, 8 November 2013


Russia Religion News Current News Items


Orthodox extremists continue anti-gay mood


HEAD OF UNION OF ORTHODOX CITIZENS CALLS UKRAINE "TO REKINDLE FLAME" OF OPPOSITION TO "EUROSODOM"

Interfax-Religiia, 7 November 2013

 

Valentin Lebedev, the head of the Union of Orthodox Citizens, predicts that Ukraine will be transformed into an antichristian mouthpiece of the European Union.

 

"On 28 November in Vilnius an agreement is supposed to be signed regarding the association of Ukraine with the European Union. From an economic point of view, this agreement is completely detrimental to Ukraine since the EU does not even promise a 'green light' for products of Ukrainian enterprises," V. Lebedev told an Interfax-Religiia correspondent on Thursday. He thinks that association with EU has only an indirect relationship to the economy, "because it is, in the first place, an act of betrayal of Ukrainian civilization and its forcible separation from Orthodox civilization."

 

"From now on, Little Russia will be obliged to implement all the antichristian ideologies of EU, namely, advancing the separation of Christian values from national life (for example, supporting legalization of same-sex marriage), but the chief thing is facilitating a complete rupture from Russia and also the separation of the Ukrainian church from the Russian," V. Lebedev declared.

 

He noted that all of this is being accomplished and will be accomplished "by totalitarian methods," as is evidenced in the attempts already undertaken "to break the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate by forcing its hierarchs to sign an appeal for association with 'EuroSodom' and in the arrests of Orthodox politicians such as, for example, deputy Igor Markov."

 

However, the news agency's interlocutor continued, all of this is producing the opposite effect. "In Little Russia there has arisen a very powerful Orthodox opposition; the episcopacy of the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow patriarchate has flatly refused to sign an appeal in support of association with EU, and on 4 November in Kiev, Nikolaev, Sevastopol, and other cities mass demonstrations of Orthodox citizens were held against integration with the Eurounion and for the unification of Orthodox Great, Little, and White Russias. Subsequent demonstrations and processions of the cross are planned for 9 and 21 November," V. Lebedev declared.

 

He said that hundreds of thousands of people throughout Ukraine are awaiting also an evangelistic rock-tour in support of the unification of Ukraine with Russia for which the leader of the tour, Orthodox musician Oleg Karamazov, has called. "From this spark a flame of Orthodox opposition 'to EuroSodom' may blaze up and Russia's debt will not be left on the side," V. Lebedev added. (tr. by PDS, posted 8 November 2013)


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Moscow struggles with mosque building


MOSCOW PROMISED ADDITIONAL MOSQUE

House of worship will be in demand in region with high proportion of Muslim population

by Vladislav Maltsev

NG-Religiia, 6 November 2013

 

"NGR" has learned that late in October a general plan for a park was presented for discussion by the Council of Deputies of the Marino district, the new phase of which includes a mosque. "We already have in Marino the large '850th Anniversary of Moscow' park," a local municipal deputy, Ekaterina Engalycheva, told "NGR." "Now the continuation of the construction of the park is being prepared, the so-called third and fourth phases of approximately the same size; the city has allocated about 250 million rubles from the budget for this. On 23 October a preplan of the park and an outline of the overall plan was brought to the Council of Deputies of Marino district for approval. In the explanation of the outline there is an enumeration of the objects contained in it and at number 23 a mosque is indicated." Engalycheva said that the designers explained that this item in the last phase of the park is located in the territory of the Liublino district, so that the part of the map where the mosque is actually located was not presented to the Marino deputies.

 

"Sharp arguments began since such construction can evoke serious discontent by residents of the district, as already occurred in Liublino at public hearings a couple of years back. The acting head of the administration argued that the plan should be adopted because the money (allocated from the Moscow budget for new phases of the park—"NGR") will go away, as we often like to say, if we do not take it," the deputy continued. "We proposed adopting the preplan of the park, leaving the mosque out of it. We were turned down." In the end, as Engalycheva says, the deputies voted against approval of the park in this form, but at the next session on 20 November this design will again be presented for their approval.

 

The question of the construction of a Muslim house of worship in the "850th Anniversary of Moscow" park was raised by the prefect of the South Eastern Administrative District of Moscow, Vladimir Zotov, four years ago. "It was proposed to construct on the territory of the '850th Anniversary of Moscow' park in Marino district. . . an educational Center of the Culture of the 20th Century, a stadium, a pool, and a mosque," Zotov told RIA Novosti in March 2009. In 2010, the land for the mosque was allocated in a different region of the South Eastern district—Tekstilshchiki—where plans for the construction of a large Muslim house of worship evoked residents' protests, and in November of the same year the prefecture officially withdrew permission for allocating the land. In October 2012, after a mighty rally against construction of a mosque in Mitino district, Mayor Sergei Sobianin officially declared that it was not planned to construct new Muslim houses of worship in the capital. In March of this year Prefect Zotov wrote in his blog on LiveJournal in response to questions of Liublino residents that "construction of a mosque is a myth; construction of such an object is not planned on the territory of the district." However in the end, in the plan for the "850th Anniversary of Moscow" park that was presented, a mosque was nevertheless present.

 

Representatives of Moscow muftiates have been rather stingy with comments about the possible appearance of a new mosque in the South Eastern district. Damir Gizatullin, first vice-chairman of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of the European Part of Russia, told a "NGR" journalist that "there is no information" on this matter. Besides, Gizatullin added, "so long as there is no information confirmed for us by city hall, we cannot comment upon it." The mufti of Moscow and the Central region within the Central Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of Russia, Albir Krganov, also does not know about plans to build a mosque. It is possible that Moscow authorities intend to consider the question of who will be given this house of worship only after (if it happens) its construction.

 

One may assume where a mosque might appear. On the websites of the administration of Marino and the prefecture of the South East there is posted a document with the title "Draft for planning the territory of objects of a nature complex No. 125 'Marino Park (projected),' No. 126 'Technological zone between Kusmin forest park and Moscow River (South East Administrative District),'" dated June 2012. At the intersection of Marino Park and Stavropol Streets, in the territory of the Liublino district, the map shows: "Mosque." This is not far from the "Moscow" trade fair complex and the "Sadovod" market. Beginning this summer, "Sadovod" was subjected to regular inspections by the police and the FMS [Federal Migration Service]. Thus, during a raid by law enforcement agencies on 28 October in "Sadovod," up to a thousand migrants were arrested, but of course the number of immigrants from Muslim countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia who are working in the market that occupies 40 hectares is much greater.  On the whole, as the head of the FMS, Konstantin Romodanovskii, noted on 21 October, the concentration of migrants in Liublino is double that in Biriulevo: "If one judges by how many foreigners appeared in the migration account, then in Biriulovo there are fewer than 24,000 migrants and in Liublino, almost 44,000."

 

"Those who protested against a mosque in Tekstilshchiki were accused of Islamophobia, as also was the case during protests in Mitino, and as perhaps will be done now with regard to the actions of deputies in Marino, but this is not so," the chairman of the "My Yard" movement, Mikhail Butrimov, explained to "NGR," who was invited in 2010 by residents of Tekstilshchiki as a coordinator of their protest campaign. "We had even Muslim Tatars who spoke out against placing a mosque there. There are two main reasons for the protests, and they are the same for all regions—residents do not want to accept under their windows a repeat of what they see every year on Prospect Mira, while they are short on green zones into which every time they are trying to stick the building of a mosque." "The accumulation of migrants at a mosque near big markets could serve as a catalyst for a new, yet more massive, explosion of public discontent," the activist warns. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 November 2013)

 
Russia Religion News Current News Items


Anti-Jehovah's Witnesses incidents seem to abate in October


DOCUMENT: REGARDING MANIFESTATION OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE TOWARD JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN RUSSIA, OCTOBER 2013

Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 6 November 2013

 

We have identified the following:

 

Five police arrests during witnessing, in Vakhovsk, Moscow, Zavialovo (Altai), Noyabrsk (Yamalo-Nenetsk), Ust-Katav (Cheliabinsk province).

 

One case of discrimination at work because of religious identity: in Snezhnogorsk (Murmansk province).

 

Three cases of obstruction of religious activity by officials: in Armavir (Krasnodar Terr.).

 

One search of believers' residence: in Krasnyi Kut (Saratov province).

 

One personal search: in Ust-Katav.

 

One police visit to believers' home: in Gvardeisk (Kaliningrad province).

 

Two assaults occasioning harm to health or threat to life, committed by aggressive persons: in Kirov and Nekrasovka MO (Moscow).

 

One interruption of worship service, committed by an aggressive person: in Mytishchi (Moscow province).

 

Three administrative cases based on local Code of Administrative Violations of Law (unauthorized posting of "advertisement"): in Armavir (Krasnodar Terr.).

 

Description of several incidents:

 

1. 1 October 2013, Nekrasovka microdistrict (Moscow). Jehovah's Witnesses A. Petrov and S. Chashnikov were sharing their religious convictions with residents of an apartment building. A man approached them from out of one of the apartments and when he learned that they were Jehovah's Witnesses he cursed them and slammed the door. The believers rang the bell of a neighboring apartment and began talking with a woman. Suddenly the man rushed out of his apartment with a pistol in his hand and began shouting loudly, ordering the believers to leave. Then the man approached Chashnikov and slapped him in the stomach, first with the barrel of the pistol and then with his fist, while raining abuse and threats of violence on the believers. The believers decided to leave, but the man chased after them and kicked Petrov in the groin. The Jehovah's Witnesses filed a statement with the police regarding assault and threat to life.

 

2. 2 October 2013, Armavir (Krasnodar terr.). Jehovah's Witness S. Bukov set up on the street a small portable stand with religious literature for the information of passers-by. Soon she was approached by a representative of the Department of Supervision of Urban Economy, V.Yu. Miroshnichenko. He drew up a report on Bukov regarding administrative violation of law based on part 7 of article 3.2 of the Krasnodar law "On administrative violations of law" for illegal display of agitation materials. The believer did not agree with the action of the representative of the administration, since according to the constitution he may freely share his religious convictions and distribute literature.

 

3. 3 October 2013, Moscow. Jehovah's Witnesses P.G., V.K., and V.K. were sharing their religious convictions with people on the street. A young person approached them and, after learning they were Jehovah's Witnesses, called the police. The police officers who arrived checked the believers' documents and, despite their dissert, took them to OPMVD for Ostankino district. At the department the believers were interrogated and their religious literature was examined, and then police officer A. Shevtsov composed a report regarding administrative violation of the law based on part 2, article 20.2. After this, written agreements were taken from the believers to appear at OPMVD the next day. On 4 October orders were issued cancelling the procedures in the case of administrative violations of the law based on part 2, article 20.2.

 

4. 5 October 2013, Vakhovsk (Khanti-Mansiisk Autonomous District—Iugra). A group five Jehovah's Witnesses was arrested by Police Major N.S. Kadyrov while believers were sharing their religious convictions with residents of the village. Kadyrov took the believers to the head of the village administration, A.V. Nefedova. She told the Jehovah's Witnesses that they could witness only if they have received written permission for this from the director for culture of Nizhnevartov district. Then the believers were taken to the police station, where statements were taken from them, and copies of their passports were also made. After this the believers were released.

 

5. 7 October 2013, Mytishchi (Moscow province). Citizen I.A. Grishin, intending to obstruct the conduct of a Jehovah's Witnesses' worship service, drove up to their building and blocked the entrance gates with his car, thereby preventing believers' passage. Then he opened his window and turned on music at full volume. The believers called the police, but when the police officers arrived they said that they could not do anything to help, because Grishin, as they said, had not committed any illegal acts and they advised that they call GIBDD [traffic police]. When the Jehovah's Witnesses called GIBDD personnel, they also refused help. The officer who came, 1.5 hours after he was called, talked with Grishin and after that Grishin freed up the passage. However he told the believers that in the future he would make attempts to disrupt their services. Grishin did something similar also on 30 September 2013.

 

6. 16 October 2013, Ust-Katav (Cheliabinsk province). When Jehovah's Witnesses A. Lebedeva and L. Simakova were sharing their religious convictions with residents of a building, they were approached by police officers. Police Captain A.S. Mingalev demanded that the women get into the police car. When the believers asked for an explanation of the reason for their arrest, Mingalev said that the believers will learn about that only at the station. The women stated their dissent with the arrest, and then Mingalev approached Lebedeva and grabbed her by the arm and forcefully put her into the vehicle. At OP No.16 MOMVD the women were placed in different offices and questioned, and then statements were taken from them. To the repeated question about the reason for the arrest, Mingalev responded that they had received a report that "strange people are going about the street and possibly saying something bad." Police officers in the department behaved badly toward the believers, offended their religious feelings, and cursed. Mingalev conducted a search of Simakova's handbag without an explanation and drew up a report. Then Simakova was taken to the office of investigator O.P. Khuramova, where the believers' literature was confiscated. Then the believers were released.

 

7. 16 October 2013, Noiabrsk (Yamalo-Nenetsk Autonomous District). Jehovah's Witnesses G. Abdulkhakova and V. Golik were arrested by representatives of the administration, police, and TsPE [Center for Combating Extremism] at the time when the believers were sharing their religious convictions with people on the street. The believers were taken to the police station where they were interrogated, and then their religious literature was confiscated. The police refused to give them copies of the reports of the confiscations and arrests.

 

8.  16 October 2013, Snezhnogorsk (Murmansk province).  Teachers of the school MBOU OOSh No. 260, E.O. and E.Ch. were summoned to the office of the principal for conversation with FSB agent D.S. Bykov, Education Department specialist T.V.Shliakhina, and acting principal M.A. Karpova. The reason for the conversation was a complaint that had been received by the Board of Education in which it was reported that E.O. and E.Ch. were members of "the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses, which has been declared extremist" and a request was made "to protect children from extremist teachers." Bykov reported that the author of the complaint was an "imaginary character," since no resident with the surname of the writer was registered at the address. Bykov reported that he would conduct a check on the basis of the anonymous complaint and he planned either to conduct a parents' meeting to determine whether children had been lured into the activity of the religious organization or conduct a survey of the children. An inquiry on the complaint against the teachers was arranged by UFSB after they received a report from the Board of Education. The report mentioned that "on the basis of a letter from vice-governor A.A. Vekshin of Murmansk province dated 30 August 2013, the sect of Jehovah's Witnsses is considered dangerous and totalitarian, and so it is necessary to conduct a check-up in OOSh No. 269." Believers are upset by the slanderous report about the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses and discrimination on the basis of religious identity in connection with the check-up being conducted.

 

9. 21 October 2013, Kirov. Jehovah's Witnesses E. Korovkin, 69, and V. Slobozhanikova, 71, were sharing their religious convictions with residents of an apartment building. A woman opened the door in one of the apartments. Realizing that she was faced with Jehovah's Witnesses, she broke off the conversation and slammed the door. Then the door was opened again and a man appeared on the threshold with a pistol in his hand. He was furious and behaved aggressively, shouting "I will shoot you." Then the man pushed the women from the door. They ran from the building.

 

10. 23 October 2013, Gvardeisk (Kaliningrad province). Police came to one of the apartment where Jehovah's Witnesses were conducting their worship service and told the believers that they did not have the right to assemble in the apartment for conducting meetings.  In the event that believers in the future were to conduct their meetings, the police officers promised that "FSB agents will deal with it."  (tr. by PDS, posted 6 November 2013)

 

Russian original posted on Portal-credo.ru, 6 November 2013


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