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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 13, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 11Oct00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Leader's Statement May Be New Threat To LDS in Russia

WASHINGTON, DC -- Less than a week after the US State Department criticized attacks on religious minorities in Russia, Russia's Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo suggested that police and religious leaders should combine to oppose sects which "aim to undermine statehood in Russia." The remarks are the clearest statements to date suggesting that the dominant Russian Orthodox Church has a special relationship with the state and against court-imposed limitations on government controls over religions.

Rushailo's comments were made in Volgograd on Friday, the city in which two of the attacks condemned by the state department occurred. On August 20th, a Mormon congregation and a Jehovah's Witness congregation were driven from their meeting places in separate attacks, and two LDS missionaries from the US were threatened by the attackers.

Religious freedom in Russia has been problematic in the last ten years. Several years ago the Russian Orthodox Church successfully persuaded the government to pass a law establishing a special relationship between the Church and the government, and allowing the government to move against minority religions. But Russia's Constitutional Court struck down several provisions of the law as unconstitutional violations of the principle of freedom of conscience in the 1993 Russian Constitution.

The timing of Rushailo's comments could also be read as a direct response to the US State Department's complaints, suggesting that Russia isn't interested in protecting religious minorities from harm.


A New Threat to Religious Minorities?
Russia Today (Radio Free Europe) 10Oct00 T1
By Paul Goble: Radio Free Europe


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