DOCUMENT: LEADERSHIP OF RUSSIAN LUTHERANS UPSET BY RASH STATEMENT OF KALUGA GOVERNOR
5 February 2015
The Lutheran Church in Russia is one of the traditional religious confessions. Russian Lutherans have always stood guard for the interests of the state. From 1832 to 1917, according to the Charter of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia, its head was the Russian emperor.
At present there are five Lutheran churches officially registered on Russian territory, which operate in complete conformity to the constitution and legislation of the RF. In Kaluga, the local religious organization of the parish of St. George Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession is active.
According to reports of a number of federal news media, on 31 January 2015 the governor of Kaluga province, Anatoly Artamonov, made a statement according to which Lutherans of Kaluga province are virtually an enemy force. In particular, while raising the topic of the tightening of legislation pertaining to non-commercial organizations that receive foreign financing, Mr. Artamonov said that today in Russia "there remains a channel through which money flows—the church. The Lutheran Church. This channel must be closed now because it is being exploited vigorously."
The leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession expresses profound concern over such statements of an official who is considered one of the effective governors of Russia.
As the leader of the region, Governor Artamonov should be aware that there is only one local Lutheran religious organization operating on the territory of Kaluga province, which is a member of the centralized Lutheran organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession: the parish of St. George. The charters of the centralized ELC and the local parish of St. George on the territory of Kaluga province have passed state registration in the Russian Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Justice for Kaluga province, and they do not contain points about the possibility of engaging in political activity. No violations of provisions of legislation were discovered in the course of the prosecutor's inspection of 2014.
Those responsible for preparing Governor Artamonov's strange statement did not inform him that the church of Russian Lutherans of ELC is not included in the register of noncommercial organizations that are foreign agents, and it has not been ruled such by a court. Moreover, in accordance with its organizational legal nature as a religious association of citizens, the church by definition does not fall under the purview of the federal law of 20 July 2012 "On introducing changes into individual legislative acts of the Russian federation for regulation of the activity of noncommercial organizations that perform the function of a foreign agent."
Those responsible for the Kaluga governor's speech also did not report to him that the church of Russian Lutherans of the ELC, the only Lutheran structure in Russia, exists exclusively on the finances of Russians and has never had and does not have financing from abroad.
It is sad that the incompetence of some members of the governor's staff has led the leader of a component entity [subject] of the RF who is respected by everybody into such embarrassing errors.
One would like to believe that in the current situation, Governor Artamonov was really tripped up by the incompetence of his subordinates who presented him incorrect information, to put it mildly, that does not correspond to reality. If that is so, it would be appropriate and proper for Governor Artamonov to publicly disavow his words. One would not like to think that all that the governor said is his personal position, because in such a case it will undoubtedly cause harm to the honor, dignity, and formal reputation of the Russian Lutheran Church.
We also consider it necessary to note that such statements may cause harm to the work of maintaining inter-religious peace and harmony, which are needed now as never before by the multinational people of Russia.
Konstantin Andreev, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2015)
original posted on site of Portal-credo.ru,
5 February 2015
RUSSIAN LUTHERANS CONSIDER STATEMENT OF KALUGA GOVERNOR REGRETABLE MISTAKE
Baznica.info, 3 February 2015
The leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession (ELCAC) learned to its surprise from an article on the website of the news agency IA REGNUM that on 30 January, at a Kremlin seminar for governors, speakers of legislative assemblies, and heads of cities, Kaluga Governor Anatoly Artamonov declared, while raising the topic of the tightening of legislation for NCOs that receive foreign financing, that "part of the financing flows through the Lutheran Church."
This statement by the head of Kaluga province who is respected by everybody provokes profound concern by the church of Russian Lutherans of ELCAC, since only one local Lutheran religious organization, the parish of St. George which is a member of the centralized Lutheran organization of ELCAC, operates on the territory of Kaluga province. Thus, in speaking about representatives of a so-called "fifth column," foreign agents operating on the territory of Kaluga province, it was obviously the ELCAC that the governor had in mind.
The leadership of ELCAC imagines that the governor of Kaluga province unfortunately was deceived by the incompetence of his speech writers who simply did not bother to inform the leader of the region about the real state of affairs and thereby placed him in an awkward position, casting a shadow on the level of his competence and awareness of what is happening in the province entrusted to him.
Those responsible for preparing Governor Artamonov's speeches did not inform him that the church of Russian Lutherans of ELCAC is not listed in the register of NCO—foreign agents, and has not been ruled as such by a court. Moreover, in accordance with its organizational legal nature as a religious association of citizens, the church by definition does not fall under the purview of the federal law of 20 July 2012 "On introducing changes into individual legislative acts of the Russian federation for regulation of the activity of noncommercial organizations that perform the function of a foreign agent." According to the above named legislative act of RF, what is understood to be a noncommercial organization that fulfills the function of a foreign agent is a Russian noncommercial organization that receives financial support and other property from foreign states, their governmental agencies, international and foreign organizations, foreign citizens, persons without citizenship, or persons authorized by them and/or from Russian legal entities that receive cash and other assets from the above indicated sources (with the exception of joint-stock companies with state participation and their subsidiaries) and who participate in political activity in the interests of foreign sources that is conducted on Russian territory (article 2.6 of the federal law of 12 January 1996 "On noncommercial organizations"). The activity of religious organizations is regulated by a different framework federal law of 26 September 1997, "On freedom of conscience and religious associations," which does not contain a definition of engagement in political activity by religious organizations. The charters of the centralized religious organization of ELCAC and the local parish of St. George on the territory of Kaluga province, which went through state registration in the Ministry of Justice of the RF and the Ministry of Justice for Kaluga province, do not contain a point about the possibility of engaging in political activity. No violations of these provisions of the legislation were discovered during prosecutor's inspections in 2014. Otherwise the religious organizations mentioned by Governor Artamonov would have received an appropriate warning from the prosecutor's office or deregistration by decision of a court.
But what is most important. Those responsible for the Kaluga governor's speech also did not report to him that the church of Russian Lutherans of ELCAC, the only Lutheran structure in Russia, which exists exclusively on the financing of Russians, never had and does not have one kopeck of aid from abroad. The governor also does not know the fact that, being a Russian church, over the course of long years from the moment of its registration it has occupied a clearly expressed patriotic position. It is the only protestant church that unconditionally supports the initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church (for example, it supports the introduction of the teaching of the foundations of Orthodox culture in the schools, for which it was criticized by representatives of several foreign partners of the RF). V.S. Pudov, the president of the General Synod of ELCAC, received from the hand of Russian President V.V. Putin a high award, the order of "Friendship of Peoples," for activity in strengthening and developing the spiritual and cultural unity of multinational Russia. And much else that Governor Artamonov's aides did not tell him about. And in vain. The Kaluga authorities would be able to find a loyal ally in the person of the church of Russian Lutherans.
It is sad that the incompetence of several members of the governor's staff led a leader who is respected by everybody into such embarrassing mistakes, exposing an incompetent government, driving a wedge into the fragile inter-religious and interethnic peace which has been built with such labor by all healthy forces of Russian society under the leadership of the guarantor of this peace and constitutional right and freedoms of citizens, Russian President V.V. Putin. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2015)
LUTHERAN PASTOR FROM KALUGA: "A RATIONAL POLITICIAL DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO INFLAME RELIGIOUS STRIFE"
IA REGNUM, 1 February 2015
On 30 January, at a Kremlin seminar for governors, speakers of legislative assemblies, and heads of cities, Kaluga Governor Anatoly Artamonov raised the topic of toughening legislation for NCOs that receive foreign financing. In particular, Artamonov reported that "part of the financing flows through the Lutheran Church. It is necessary to close this channel now, because it is being vigorously exploited."
"This statement by Governor Artamonov did not surprise me. For a long time now he has been living in a world of illusions," Pastor Dmitry Martyshenko, the rector of the parish of St. George of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Augsburg Confession, said today, 1 February, in conversation with a correspondent of IA REGNUM. He said: "any civil activity in the Kaluga region by Governor Anatoly Artamonov is taken as hostile. Now he has set the Lutheran Church in opposition to Russia. In my view, the governor has accused the Lutheran Church, completely without basis, of financing illegal activity on the territory of our country. I suggest that the hierarchs of the church state again their own weighty word on this matter."
"Within the framework of a criminal case on an accusation of extremism brought against me, by an amazing coincidence I had to take a lie detector test on the governor's birthday. As the result of a seven-month investigation, the case was closed and I received the right to rehabilitation. I suggest that Governor Artamonov should have to undergo such a test, whom I am now unable to consider to be my governor after his false accusations of the Lutheran Church," Martyshenko said. "And more. After certain incidents connected with the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, such irresponsible statement by officials are unacceptable, inasmuch as they undoubtedly lead to a growth of social tension within society. A rational politician does not have the right to use a federal tribune for inflaming religious strife," the Lutheran pastor from Kaluga emphasized. (tr. by PDS, posted 6 February 2015)
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