RUSSIA : Freedom of religion or belief: Special Bimonthly FORB Digest (16–28.02.2022)


27.02.2022 – Jehovah’s Witness deported to… Ukraine (!) after his release

Konstantin Bazhenov was deprived of his citizenship due to his criminal prosecution. See a video report and his testimony in Russian.

In 2021, one of the first Jehovah’s Witnesses that was sent behind bars after the Russian Supreme Court decided to ban the organization was released from prison and deported from Russia.

As soon as Konstantin Bazhenov left the colony, he was detained and deported to Ukraine because his Russian citizenship was revoked due to criminal prosecution.

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25.02.2022 – Supporters of the “Crimean Alliance of Pagans” detained in Crimea

It is reported that the detained supporters of the “Right Sector” banned in the Russian Federation, as well as members of the radical neo-pagan community “Crimean Alliance of Pagans”.

The detainees planned to blow up the church.

Components for the manufacture of an explosive device with damaging elements, explosives, as well as instructions for the manufacture of IEDs were found and confiscated at the places of residence and collection of them. In addition, the symbols of the “Right Sector”, neo-pagan paraphernalia and literature of the recognized extremist organization “Jehovah’s Witnesses” were confiscated.

One of the detainees confessed to purchasing and storing components, as well as plans to manufacture IEDs

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24.02.2022 – In Anapa, the court ruled to block the page of the church, which is part of the New Generation movement, on the social network

On February 20, 2022, it became known that the city court of Anapa satisfied the claim of the prosecutor’s office to block the page of the city Church of Christ the Savior in VKontakte. The church belongs to the New Generation movement.

The administrative defendant was VKontakte LLC and its director Nikolai Bogoslavsky.

According to the prosecutor’s office, a group of 200 users, in which announcements of divine services and Christian actions are published, creates a “threat to the foundations of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation . ”

Let us recall that earlier the activities of four foreign organizations of the New Generation Church were recognized as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation.

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24.02.2022 – The former secretary of the Primate of the UOC-MP, and now the Metropolitan of the OCU, said that the Church blesses the use of weapons for the defense of the country

The Church blesses the use of weapons against invaders, as they are used for defensive purposes. This was stated on February 23 by the former secretary of the Primate of the UOC-MP (Ukrainian Orthodox Church / Moscow Patriarchate), and now Metropolitan of Pereyaslavl and Vishnevsky OCU (Orthodox Church of Ukraine) Oleksandr (Drabinko), writes Ukrinform.

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23.02.2022 – DONBAS: Luhansk: Religious freedom survey, February 2022

Freedom of religion and belief is severely restricted in the rebel Luhansk People’s Republic occupying currently (February 2022) about a third of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region. Forum 18’s survey analysis documents violations including: rendering illegal all Protestant and non-Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox communities; a climate of fear about discussing human rights violations; repeated denials of permission to a Roman Catholic priest to live in the region; and increasing numbers of banned allegedly “extremist” books, including an edition of the Gospel of John published in 1820.

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23.02.2022 – The head of the DSMR called Russia’s recognition of the DPR and LPR justified

The decision to recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) by Russia is justified in order to protect people, and Russian Muslims reacted with understanding, Mufti Albir Krganov, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia (DSMR), told RIA Novosti.

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23.02.2022 – Patriarch Kirill congratulated Putin on Defender of the Fatherland Day

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on Defender of the Fatherland Day and wished him peace of mind, health and God’s help in his ministry, follows from a message published on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The national holiday – Defender of the Fatherland Day – is celebrated on February 23 in Russia .

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23.02.2022 – How Putin is exploiting Orthodox rivalries in Ukraine

The Russian president says the government in Kiev is repressing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is attached to the Moscow Patriarchate.

Putin added the religious tensions to the two countries’ already explosive political situation on Monday during a televised address in which he acknowledged the independence of the pro-Russian separatist territories in eastern Ukraine.

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22.02.2022 – CRIMEA: 23 fines under Russia’s “anti-missionary” laws in 2021

All 23 of the administrative prosecutions against individuals under Russia’s “anti-missionary” laws in 2021 in Russian-occupied Crimea led to convictions and fines. Assistant Prosecutor Olga Kushnerova brought the case against Imam Said Akhmad Asadov, fined five days’ average local wages for leading prayers in a Simferopol District mosque raided by Russian FSB security service officers and Prosecutor’s Office officials. “I won’t give any comments by phone,” she told Forum 18. “Everything I did was within the parameters of the law and the duties assigned to me under the law.” She refused to discuss why an individual should be punished for leading worship in a religious community.

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18.02.2022 – Ukrainian Jehovah’s Witness sentenced for talking about the Bible in Russian-occupied Crimea

A Russian occupation court has found 32-year-old Artem Shabliy guilty of so-called ‘participation in an extremist organization’ for practising his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness. In Russian occupied Crimea, it is the first time that a two-year suspended sentence has been passed, after four real sentences of six or six and a half years against four other Ukrainian believers.

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17.02.2022 – An Appeal in Kemerovo upheld Aleksandr Bondarchuk’s and Sergey Yavushkin’s sentence – Both Jehovah’s Witnesses

Link to full text in Russian:

On February 16, 2022, the Kemerovo Regional Court rejected the appeal of Aleksandr Bondarchuk and Sergey Yavushkin, leaving the sentence unchanged – 4 years of suspended imprisonment.

In the summer of 2021, the Zavodskoy District Court of Kemerovo found Bondarchuk and Yavushkin guilty of extremism. The prosecution presented prayers and the rental of a pool for the rite of Christian baptism as a “crime”.

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15.02.2022 – The Supreme Court of Tatarstan approved the verdict against Gabdrakhman Naumov

The real term assigned to Gabdrakhman Naumov under Art. 282.2 and 282.3 of the Criminal Code.

On February 8, 2022, the Supreme Court of Tatarstan considered the verdict of Gabdrakhman (Albert) Naumov, accused of organizing the activities of the extremist organization “Nurjular” (Part 1 of Art. 282.2 of the Criminal Code) and financing of extremism (Part 1 of Art. 282.3 of the Criminal Code), and left unchanged the sentence of six and a half years in prison. The verdict handed down on November 2, 2021 by the Volga District Court of Kazan entered into force.

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