Russian government interferes in protestants' training of ministers



An arbitration court revoked the license of the Moscow Theological Seminary of Evangelical Christians-Baptists.


On 27 February, the lawsuit of Rosobrnadzor [Russian Educational Supervision Service] for the revocation of the license was granted by a court, the Christian megaportal reports.


This was reported by the vice-rector for academic affairs of the seminary, Aleksei Markevich. The main reason for such harsh measures was the inconsistency between forms of one of the internal documents, although the form itself, by law, is legally established by the educational organization.


"Today the judge of the arbitration court of the city of Moscow granted the lawsuit of Rosobrnadzor for revocation of the license from the Moscow Theological Seminary. And although the seminary provided responses to all of the bureaucratic complaints, the judge decided not to take that into account. For example: the main complaint of a "violation" of licensing requirements was the "incorrect" form of a document describing the teaching load, although this form was developed in accordance with the law and was approved by the educational organization. In fact we developed our form on the basis of a similar form of another educational institution," Aleksei Markevich, M.Th., wrote on his Facebook page. "Revocation of a license is an extreme measure, which the government uses when an organization, by its activity, grossly violates the law and threatens society, the state, or citizens. Evidently the judge saw in our seminary such a threat. Many ask what is the reason for such a decision. I see that it as a carte blanche that is given to the Russian bureaucracy and the lack of independent judicial procedures. But that is my personal opinion, a person who has tried for a year and a half to do everything to satisfy this bureaucracy, which turned out to be impossible."


As project VoSvete notes, the predecessor of the seminary were the Bible courses whose production began back in the 1920s, and the first decision about the necessity to organize such a seminary was first made back at the first congress of the World Baptist Alliance in 1905. At that congress, a special prayer for the opening of an evangelical seminary in Russia was made.


In 1909, the issue of the founding of such a seminary in Moscow was discussed at the All-Russian Congress of Baptists. A collection of donations for the needs of the new educational institution was begun. In 1911, thanks to a collection by participants in the second World Baptist Congress, a sufficient amount of money was collected, but because of the tensions of international circumstances and the introduction of new laws, the opening of the seminary did not occur at that time.


Only in 1968 did ministers of the evangelical confession get the possibility of studying the Bible and biblical disciplines systematically. It was in this year that the correspondence Bible courses of the All-Union Council of Evangelical Christians-Baptists were opened.


And in October 1993, finally, the Moscow Theological Seminary of E.Kh.B. was organized and opened.


The first decision was made on 27 December 2018 when the Perov district court of the city of Moscow issued a decision to suspend the activity of the Moscow Theological Seminary of Evangelical Christians-Baptists for 60 days. The decision was made on the basis of an inspection that was conducted in the seminary on 16-18 October for the Federal Supervision Service in the Sphere of Education and Science (Rosobrnadzor). The inspection was conducted by a commission of five persons: two representatives of the service and three experts. On the basis of its results, instructions for removing violations were drawn up. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 February 2020)

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