American missionaries ordered out of Russia


RIA Novosti, 25 August 2016


A court ordered the deportation from Samara of six Mormons from the USA because of violation of migration legislation, a source in law enforcement agencies of the region told RIA Novosti on Thursday.


"The chief directorate of the MVD for Samara province conducted inspection activity among foreign visitors in apartments of Mormons. Cases of violations by American citizens of the requirements of migration legislation of the RF were documented, specifically noncompliance with requirements to register at the place of temporary residence in Samara," the news agency's source reported.


According to information of the source, courts in the Soviet and Samara districts of the city ruled that six citizens of the USA, of ages from 19 to 25 years, be held administratively responsible. A fine of 2,000 rubles was set for each of the violators of the law. In addition, the courts made a decision to deport the Americans beyond the borders of Russia, with a prohibition on entry into the country for five years. The American citizens appealed the decision on deportation from Russia, but the court left it in force. According to information from the source, the six Americans have still not left Samara province.


The news agency's source said that the young people who belong to the Mormons arrived in Russia for missionary activity. The Samara division of the Mormon church, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was registered in 1998 and belongs to the Mormon church of the USA. Young men and women from the USA who engage in missionary activity come to the region on a regular basis. According to information from law enforcement agencies, missionaries of the Mormon church regularly move about the Volga region and change their place of actual residence every three months, renting apartments independently. While doing so, some of them are not entered into the migration record.


According to RIA Novosti's source, one of the main aims of the missionary activity of devotees of the Mormon church in Samara is to recruit youth from among students of higher educational institutions, representatives of government bodies, and workers in sensitive enterprises.


"In the period from 2013 to 2016, the number of American citizens arriving for missionary activity in Samara province has increased. Thus, in 2013, 46 persons arrived; in 8 months of 2016, 204 persons arrived. This fact may be regarded as evidence of heightened interest on the part of the USA in the region," a source in law enforcement agencies of the region explained. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 August 2016)

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