Significant change of leadership of key legislative committee


by Vladislav Maltsev, 27 September 2016


The press service of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) told Interfax that the new head of the Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations will be a deputy from that party, Sergei Gavrilov. At first glance, such a decision is surprising, but, as ascertained, the new appointee is already well known as one of the most dyed-in-the-wool Duma fighters for Orthodoxy against sects, neopaganism, and "militant liberalism."


In April 2012, Gavrilov was the initiator and coordinator of the creation of the Inter-Fractional Deputies' Group for Defense of Christian Values. In an interview on this occasion, published on 14 April 2012 on the KPRF's website, Gavrilov declared that "the original Russian spirituality, based on Orthodox Christianity, is the only one that ensures the viability of our people and gives a chance for the real revival of the state."


"Their name is legion, as Sacred Scripture said," he explained with regard to the threats from which believers had to be protected by the deputies' group that he was coordinating. "The persecution of believers and aggressive fighting against God have existed from the very moment of the evangelical preaching of Christ. It has now taken the form of militant liberalism, the ideology of total consumerism and secularism, and globalization American-style."


In another interview the politician was more specific. "Today the direct descendents of the revolutionaries are not those who respect the memory of Lenin but those who rally on Bolotnaya Square," Gavrilov told the Orthodox newspaper Krestovskii Most in Occtober 2014. "It is the radical liberals who have the revolutionary urge to destruction, to break with traditions, and to disrespect for sacred things and our history."


The deputy added that he and his colleagues of the Inter-Fractional Group (including Elena Muzulina) "began to work especially actively after the notorious events in the church of Christ the Savior (the punk prayer service by Pussy Riot on 21 February 2012) and they adopted special statements in defense of traditional confessions, believers' rights, increased punishment for pedophilia, and against totalitarian sects."


Concerning the threat of the latter, Gavrilov said in the name of his colleagues in the Inter-Fractional Group in an interview back in 2012: "We think that citizens of the Russian federation should have the right to be protected from the violence of destructive sects."


The politician returned to this idea a year ago, initiating a draft law regarding the obligatory licensing of religious organizations and the creation in the State Duma of a working group on the question of combating the development of sectarianism, whose first session was held on 24 September 2015, with the participation of representatives of Orthodox organizations.


"The primary objective of sects is to break up the unity of the world and make people spiritually depressed and often extremists," Gavrilov described the situation at this meeting. "We view this from the point of view of the spread of neopagan sects, including those in the northern Caucasus. It is no accident that many of these sects participate in the war againat the civilian population in the Donbass on the part of Ukraine. Ukraine has become just an example of the quasi-free access of all non-governmental organizations and pseudo-religious confessions—stadiums filled with sects. And we see the enslaved population, which is summoned to participate actively in the civil war in Ukraine. These phenomena, financed from abroad, pose a serious threat, in our view, to the national security of Russia."


Then he promised "to develop measures for heading off this danger, preventive measures of strict control for obstructing these terrible sects from work with the population." However in the previous convocation of the State Duma, Gavrilov headed the Committee on Affairs of Property and the standing Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organization was headed by Yaroslav Nilov (LPDR). The latter spoke rather critically last year regarding Gavrilov's draft law, which one can see at a number of points was similar to the "Yarovaya Package" adopted this year with regard to limiting missionary activity of foreign religious organizations.


In the new convocation of parliament, this situation has changed and one may expect from Sergei Anatolievich the embodiment of the resolute antisectarian initiatives he earlier announced.


We note separately that on 19 June of this year, on the Feast of Trinity, in the St. Sergius Holy Trinity lavra, Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill awarded Sergei Gavrilov a certificate of gratitude for work already conducted within the walls of the Russian parliament. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 September 2016)



by Sergei Svetlov

Alive Faith Media, 27 September 2016


Yesterday, 26 September, at a joint briefing the leaders of the Duma parties announced how the management of the committees will be distributed.


Thus it was learned that the Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations will be headed by a representative of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF).


During the briefing, Gennady Ziuganov declared that "there are specialists in the ranks of the party who have great experience in these matters." Naturally, after such statements the Internet flashed with commentaries about the 70-year experience of the communists' struggle with religion.


However, few know that today's communists not only do not fight with religion but even consider that the fall of the USSR occurred particularly because of the struggle with God. In addition, nowadays believers are freely accepted into the ranks of the party and Mr. Ziuganov himself thinks that the first socialist was none other than Jesus Christ, whose commandments are the prototype of the Code of the Builder of Communism.


Today the KPRF has removed the cloak of mystery on this matter, naming as the new head of the Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations Sergei Gavrilov.


It should be noted that Gavrilov really does have experience in religious matters: in the previous convocation of the State Duma, besides membership on the Committee on Property he also led the Inter-Fractional Group for the Defense of Christian Values.


In the Duma of the previous convocation, contacts with religious organizations were overseen by the fraction of the LDPR, in the person of Yaroslav Nilov, who in this convocation will head the Committee on Labor, Social Policy, and Veterans' Affairs. (tr. by PDS, posted 29 September 2016)

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