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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Russian sects made life easier

In Russia without the noise and dust of a law giving the sects and totalitarian cults and minority religious communities of any degree of the exoticism of the possibility of official state registration. In fact, the law was adopted under pressure from the ECHR ruled that Russia violated the rights of Scientologists. But it is bad this law as it seems at first glance?

At the end of last week the state Duma without much informational noise in the second and third readings, passed a long time becoming dusty, a bill to facilitate the procedure for the registration of new religious associations. Earlier in the territory of the Russian Federation operating so-called rule of 15 years, which meant that a religious group may receive registration only after submission of the document confirming its existence for 15 years or more. According to the new law, religious groups can register at least the day after creation, giving the local bodies of Executive power in written.

“There are entrepreneurs who will register their pub as “the Church of the smokers in the room”, and the Charter will prescribe something like “buy beer and snacks – a direct duty of the adept of the cult”

However, for these newly emerged organizations set a number of restrictions. For example, they will not be able within the next 10 years after registration to establish educational institutions, to establish mass media, to have a representative office of a foreign religious organizations to invite foreigners to engage in professional activities, including preaching and religious. Also during this period, local and regional organizations are unable to carry out religious rites in health care and hospitals, prisons, orphanages, houses boarding schools for aged and invalids.

There is one important caveat: the restrictions apply to groups that are not legally included in a previously registered centralized religious structure. But about this thing a little later, first about the prerequisites.

Another round of controversy about new religious associations, which led to the emergence of the act commenced on 10 March 2010 in connection with the decision of the European court of human rights in the case of Scientology. In response to the statement of the congregations of the Church of Scientology and Jehovah’s Witnesses”, the ECHR has recognized that the “rule of 15 years does not correspond to the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” and ordered Russia to exclude the refusal to register religious organizations from non-compliance with this requirement. After that, the profile state Duma Committee on Affairs of public associations and religious organizations recommended for adoption in the first reading a government bill that significantly simplifies the registration of religious organizations.

The first reading of the bill, however, took place only four years later, in October 2014. But the question of the abolition of the “rules of 15 years” was raised several times before. In 2013 on this topic was given by Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, said that “a bill to simplify the registration of religious organizations should undergo public discussion.” This “public debate” in any form, as we now know, was not carried out. The law passed quietly, wrote about him in the media are either highly specialized, secoveljske or second tier. Reading in the Duma, he also held a kind: between the first and second third, it took more than eight months.

Meanwhile, in 2014 the draft law caused serious concern among some members. So, Eser Mikhail Emelyanov wanted to ask serious questions to the authors of the bill and especially the government, whether we are talking about the legalization of sects.” “I perfectly remember, how in 90-e years in Russia, lush color bloomed religious sects with living gods in the head,” he said. The liberalization of religious legislation, in his opinion, may lead to the recurrence of such phenomena.

However, at the time of the first reading the law sets the minimum framework. For example, unlike the final version, novosergiyevsky religious groups to educational activities that formally were not considered as actually educational. That is, the law was much more liberal. In parallel with antiscratch initiative was made a member of the Council under RF President on development of civil society and human rights, Chairman of the coordination Council of the Union of volunteers Russia, Yana Lantratova. We are talking about the draft law “On missionary activity”, the essence of which is that “street mission,” which is so fond of the new religious organizations must now be entirely voluntary on the part of those who directed the mission. Legislative provisions of this kind have already been adopted in several regions of the Russian Federation, for example, in the Belgorod and Novgorod regions.

Another important caveat – the same caveat about the centralized structure and is not formally included in it enterprises. The fact is that, legally, in Russia, centralized religious structures are almost there. Especially when it comes to totalitarian cults and sects, as their researcher defines the phenomenon of Alexander Dvorkin. Simply put, the community of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Luga, Leningrad region legally – not the same thing, that the community “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in the city of Kaluga. So when a judicial decision is removed from the register or prohibit the activities of the community any Mormons or Scientologists in one of the regions of the Russian Federation, it does not affect other regions and the activities of local Scientologists and Mormons. Moreover, it does not apply to the neighboring communities of the same religion and the same religious system in the same city. The two communities of neocharismatics of the “Milestones of Faith” or “Church of Christ”, be they in the neighboring houses, two different religious organizations.

It is, incidentally, another Soviet legal practice, which still obtains and applies not only sects, but also traditional confessions. Every Orthodox parish every Islamic or Jewish community, and every Buddhist Sangha is a separate legal entity, separate religious structure. Frankly, this situation is wrong, because the legal reality does not reflect reality objectively. Current legislation is pushing for a particular structure. And because not so categorically bad.

Things are bad in this situation did arise a multitude of sects one-day. There are entrepreneurs who, for example, will register their pub as “the Church of the smokers in the room”, and the Charter will prescribe something like “buy beer and snacks – a direct duty of the adept of the cult”. And then try to prove that they are small businesses, not the followers. of Bacchus”, for example. But it’s kind of exotic.

According to the liberal bill the state as it soothes the ECHR (as part of the rhetoric of recent months in the Yukos case looks dual), alarm domestic sectologists (which for the state is not very good, because antisectarian expert – out of policy), but, paradoxically, makes it is a sound move, as a substantial portion of the law simply won’t work. In the leadership of the sectarian structures sit are not idiots. They understand that unregistered community acts much freer than a legal entity. Especially within centralized structures, which can now be cut at the root of violations of individual cells in Kaluga or Luga.

Another thing – do check the new sects at the level of individual communities. There really can be a problem. They want the land, premises, private community property. They can be fixed – and do it. But there is a chance that many of these groups will make a mistake on ignorance of the Russian legislation. The law on advertising, for example, or of the law on NGOs. They often slip up, not even being registered. Only law enforcement officers “take” of individuals, and do not cover the whole organization, because if the organization is not legally, for law enforcement it does not exist. Thus, for non-traditional religious structures, everything can change in an illiberal direction.

It is clear that the new, legally registered religious organization has deployed a public relations campaign stressing that they are now officially recognized by the state. Potentially this will increase the list of victims of cults and local cults. But what is interesting: the Senator Kosachev forms a “memorial list” of foreign political NGOs, which would not be prohibitive and the Manifesto, a warning to the citizens. Something similar can be done with new religious associations. If the state believes that these structures can live and work with people in Lite mode, he should inform the public about what are these structures, let even was, really.

As for traditional religions, they are from this innovation neither cold nor hot. A little less than a parish priest messing around with the reports a little more strength at the Liturgy. And antiekhandel activities.


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