Russian parliament prepares to pass law regulating evangelism


RIA Novosti, 20 June 2016


The State Duma Committee on Security and Combating Corruption supported amendments for the second reading regarding a package of antiterrorism bills, which establish fines of up to a million rubles for conducting missionary activity with a violation of legislation.


The draft laws were developed by the heads of standing committees of the two chambers of parliament: the chairman of the Duma Committee on Security, Irina Yarovaya, and the head of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Viktor Ozerov.


According to the amendments to the draft law, missionary activity [evangelism] is defined as dissemination of faith and religious convictions outside of houses of worship and buildings and other places and sites specifically designated (provided) for worship services, religious veneration (pilgrimage), institutions and enterprises of religious organizations, cemeteries and crematoria, buildings and structures with a religious purpose, and premises of educational organizations that have historically been used for conducting religious rituals, and also through mass media and the Internet.


According to the bill, citizens who conduct missionary activity in the name of a religious group are required to have in their possession the decision of a general meeting of that group granting them corresponding authorization with an indication of the details of the written confirmation and registration of the notification about the creation and beginning of the activity of said group.


Foreign citizens and persons without citizenship who are legally on the territory of the Russian federation have the right to conduct missionary activity in the name of a religious group only on the territory of the constituent entity [subject] of the Russian federation in which the territorial agency of the Ministry of Justice is located.


Foreign citizens who have entered the territory of the RF upon the invitation of a religious group have the right to conduct missionary activity only in the name of said group on the territory of the constituent entity of the RF corresponding to the territorial sphere of its activity.


The conduct of evangelistic or preaching activity along with violation of legislation about freedom of conscience, freedom of religious confession, and religious associations entails a fine: for citizens of from 5 to 50 thousand rubles and for legal entities of from 100 thousand to 1 million rubles.


Violation of legislation on this article committed by a foreign citizen or a person without citizenship entails a fine of from 30 to 50 thousand rubles and administrative deportation beyond the borders of the RF.


In addition, conduct by a religious organization of activity without an indication of the official denomination, including the publication or distribution of literature, or printed, audio, and video materials without identification entails a fine of from 30 to 50 thousand rubles, with confiscation of the literature, or printed, audio, and video materials. (tr. by PDS, posted 21 June 2016)

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