Russian lawmaker justifies restrictions of non-Orthodox religions


Interfax-Religiia, 16 August 2017


A report of the Department of State of the U.S.A., noting continuing oppression of representatives of religious minorities in Russia, is superficial and unprofessional, declared the head of the State Duma Committee on the Development of Civil Society and Affairs of Religious and Public Associations, Sergei Gavrilov.


"I consider that the statement of the State Department in this report regarding the situation in Russia is very superficial and tendentious. That it is politically motivated is explainable; what is surprising is the low level of professionalism. It is obvious that the monitoring and analysis has been entrusted to unprofessionally trained workers in the State Department," S. Gavrilov told Interfax.


In his opinion, "Russian legislation has become more mature in comparison with, say, the 1990s."


Recently adopted rules of legislation regarding evangelism permit the resolution of problems that arise "when representatives of one confession start to work on the territory in which another has been historically distributed," the head of the committee declared. And the implementation of the law about evangelism, Gavrilov said, is aimed at the resolution of two problems: "stopping pseudoreligious extremism and attempts to pick off representatives of different religious confessions."


The lawmaker noted that "often behind the religious cover of organizations are concealed completely understandable property interests or the activity of foreign intelligence services and the attempt to uncover state secrets."


In connection with this, "bans on the activity of some organizations that have occurred recently are specifically connected with extremist activity and the totalitarian activity of pseudoreligious organizations and they are aimed at the protection of human rights," S. Gavrilov maintains.


"My subjective opinion is that it is necessary to devote yet more careful attention to religious organizations, or those that call themselves religious, whose activity is directed and financed from abroad," the head of the committee said.


He also suggests that changes introduced into Russian legislation and dealing with regulating the activity of religious organizations "in these last three years probably are inadequate steps."


The committee head explained that "very often activity aimed at inflaming religious strife and violation of the rights of believers is initiated by secular organizations and citizens, including notorious lawyers." Such "activity can be viewed by believers of all confessions as violating their religious rights and can engender distrust of the government, which has financed, for example, the making of a number of controversial films," S. Gavrilov stated.


In connection with this, the committee's head thinks, "now it is necessary to pay more serious attention not only to pseudoreligious organizations but also to a number of secular organizations whose activity is clearly aimed at enflaming inter-ethnic strife and destabilizing social conditions in our society, which is especially important in conditions of international sanctions."


As reported, the American Department of State on Tuesday published its annual report on religious freedoms in the world, which specifically noted that in Russia in the past year, the oppression of representatives of religious minorities continued. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 August 2017)

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