Jehovah's Witnesses are special target of restrictive legislation



In Tambov a law on missionary activity is being prepared. It is suggested that it will protect residents of Tambov province from the influence of sectarian organizations. This was explained in an interview with by the chairman of the Tambov provincial duma, Evgeny Matushkin. He said the problem developed long ago but it is only now that the suggestion to begin work on a draft law came from Metropolitan Feodosy and civic activists.


"Our task is to shield the population as much as possible from bad influences. This law will regulate the activity of various sects and antihuman trends. The invasion has been continuing since the 1990s of pseudoreligious leaders who deceive people and leave them without a livelihood. It is necessary to construct a legislative atmosphere that would protect our population. How can they be protected? Prohibit everything. But the problem is that there is a very fine line—what is allowed and what is prohibited. It is important not to infringe the freedom of religious confession, so we face a large and very meticulous task," a spokesman for the regional legislative assembly, Evgeny Matushkin, said.


Prospects for adoption of a law on missionary activity in 2016: Now the Tambov provincial duma is studying the practice of other regions. In a number of neighboring provinces a local law on missionary activity already is in effect. In essence, such a normative legal act does not restrict preaching activity. Nevertheless it provides for the certification of a missionary, which indicates his membership in one or another religious organization and says that he has the necessary skills and knowledge. In addition, this person should register with agencies of local government.


People of Tambov are bothered by Jehovah's Witnesses most of all. Adherents distribute generously to people of Tambov topical literature in the hope of finding new brothers in the faith while more than 60 titles of printed material of this religious association have been entered into the federal list of extremist materials.


Yet another problem associated with the activity of religious organizations is the so-called "rehabilitation centers," which appear at their base. Centers are created for curing drug addiction and drug dependency. At the same time programs themselves for rehabilitation do not exist and specialist physicians are not recruited. "The activity of such rehabilitation center consists in essence in people working and bringing in some income for the organizations," said Vitaly Shcherbakov, the senior security officer for especially important matters of the Center for Combating Extremism of the Russian UMVD for Tambov province. He noted that there now is a definite gap in the law that permits such centers to conduct their activity freely. (tr. by PDS, posted 31 December 2015)

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Another Russian state burdens religious evangelism
December 24, 2015
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