Russian lawmakers threaten restrictive law


In Russian legislation there is no concept of "sect" as such

by Gennady Okorokov

Vecherniaia Moskva, 8 January 2019


In the spring, deputies of the State Duma will consider a draft bill, which should protect Russians from the influence of "pseudoreligious, destructive organizations" and "anti-social groups," more simply put as sects.


Many of these associations, despite their declared religious activity, are engaged in direct fraud and filching the property of citizens ala the recipes of Ostap Bender [a fictional con man in novels by Ilf and Petrov—tr.].


The victims of such organizations often are elderly or lonely people and those who find themselves in a difficult life situation, children, and teenagers. It is these groups at risk that the new draft law is primarily supposed to protect.


In the opinion of senators and deputies, the demand for it is long overdue.


"Sects are a very dangerous milieu and legislation in this area must govern. We are preparing suggestions as to how to protect citizens from them. Unfortunately, at present there is not a single region where there are not such sects. According to expert estimates, in Russia about 500 destructive organizations are operating. At the same time, in Russian legislation there is not the concept of 'sect' as such, much less 'destructive sect;' it does not exist," the Parlamentskaia Gazeta quotes Senator Elena Mizulina.


The idea of a draft bill was previously supported also by the chair of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko.


It is planned to introduce the draft into the State Duma in the spring and work on it is now continuing.


Expert's opinion


Alexander Dvorkin, a professor of the PSTGU [Orthodox St. Tikhon Humanities University] and president of the St. Irenaeus of Lyons Center of Religious Studies Research:  "The topic is complex. Here it is very important to give a clear definition that encompasses relevant groups and does not harm law-abiding religious organizations. Here it will be necessary to go along this thin line in the court of work on the drat law. Regarding the list, it is necessary to take into account that it will never be comprehensive. Destructive groups change, divide, and disappear, and new ones appear. Therefore a mechanism will be worked out for expansion. Members of the working group have still not disclosed all suggestion for defining destructive groups and forming their registry." (tr. by PDS, posted 17 January 2019)

Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,