Changes in religion law move forward


Credo.Press, 17 November 2020


The draft law on changes in the Russian law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" is scheduled for adoption on first reading in December and amendments for the second reading should "remove the concern of religious organizations because of the provision of the requirement of retraining clergy in Russia." This was reported on 16 November to TASS by the head of the Russian State Duma Committee on Development of Civil Society and Affairs of Public and Religious Associations, Sergei Gavrilov.


The document forbids leading religious groups and participating in them by persons suspected of financing terrorism, by foreigners and persons without citizenship regarding whom a decision has been made concerning the undesirability of their presence and residence in Russia, and also by persons in whose actions a court has found evidence of extremist activity. Whether this means that such persons are deprived of the right to profess their faith along with other persons, which they share (after all it is for this reason they join a religious group), remains unclear for now. According to the document, clerics who studied abroad must undergo certification and retraining in Russian religious educational institutions. This provision previously evoked criticism on the part of several religious organizations of "traditional" religions.


"This draft law contains many different provisions, but only one of them has evoked criticism. Therefore the general resolution is to adopt the draft law in December on first reading, and during preparation for the second reading the committee, on the basis of the results of consultations with centralized religious organizations of the principal Russian confessions, will prepare amendments, considering the concerns of religious organizations on the issue of retraining and certification of clergy who received foreign religious education," Gavrilov said.


In September, the standing Duma committee recommended to the lower chamber the adoption of the draft law on first reading. However, its consideration was postponed for consultations with the confessions after appeals from the community of Buddhists, who do not have in Russia appropriate religious schools, said Gavrilov, who is a member of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and devoted parishioner of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 November 2020)

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