Russian parliament backs away from controversial change in religion law


by Nikita Viatchanin

Parlamentskaia Gazeta, 15 October 2020


Deputies are preparing amendments that will free clergy and religious personnel of churches who are already active from mandatory certification and from getting supplementary professional education. This was reported to journalists by the chairman of the State Duma's Committee on Development of Civil Society and Affairs of Public and Religious Associations, Sergei Gavrilov.


He reported that after consultations with leading religious organizations, a group of deputies is planning to introduce new amendments into legislation of the R.F. They will establish that the requirement for getting supplementary professional education and undergoing certification will be imposed only on clergy and personnel of religious organizations who are just beginning to perform liturgies, other rituals, and ceremonies or to conduct missionary preaching activity. At the same time, such a requirement should not be applied to persons who are already engaged in liturgies, evangelism, and teaching.


"In the event of the absence in Russia of religious educational organizations of any confession, certification will be conducted by a leadership body (center) of a centralized religious organization of the corresponding confessional affiliation" Sergei Gavrilov explained.


He said that improvement of the legislation of the Russian Federation on freedom of conscience has proven its effectiveness. This has been attested by the decline in inter-religious tension and a decrease of the activity of extremist religious groups in our country. "We have unique experience here, which we can 'export' to other countries of the world, in order to avoid conflicts on religious grounds and maintain peace among the leading world confessions," Sergei Gavrilov declared.


He said that these topics will be discussed at a major international forum, "Religion and peace—spiritual bases of the Great Victory," which is scheduled for 22 October in Moscow.


In particular, amendments are now being worked out in Russia, which will prevent participation in the activity of religious organizations by clergy that received education abroad and are now spreading extremist religious ideology. Work is also ongoing for changes in the legislation of the R.F., which should make the activity of religious groups maximally transparent. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 October 2020)

Background article:
Russian parliament delays consideration of controversial changes in religion law
September 26, 2020

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