As protesters demanding more freedom and fair elections prepared to demonstrate in freezing temperatures in Moscow last Saturday, a major Russian mission group warned of more difficulties for evangelical Christians and other religious minorities in Russia and other former Soviet Union nations.
Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk wanted the edition to be ruled “extremist”.
Russian MPs have backed a bill that bans anyone who calls themselves a witch or a wizard from advertising their services in the media in an effort to combat a controversial national obsession with the occult.
According to the Orthodox Church, Russia has 800,000 practitioners of the occult, many of whom advertise in newspaper small advertisements offering cures for alcoholism and spells to lift curses and return errant husbands for a fee.
One report claims almost one in five Russians have consulted occult ‘healers’ but MPs have warned they are risking their health and possibly their lives by trusting in such quackery.
The Latter-Day Saints, like a raft of other non-Orthodox faiths, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been labelled “totalitarian sects” by the Russian Orthodox Church, whose criticism is frequently tinged with nationalism. In the past decade, the Russian government has severely restricted the activities of these churches, whose followers routinely face harassment, discrimination and even detention.
As the drama around the Russian sect awaiting the apocalypse in a cave in the country’s Penza Region continues to unfold, media reports of other isolated and extreme Christian groups have begun to emerge.
A special session dealing with the issue of cult expansion in Russia’s capital will be held in the Moscow City Duma in the middle of March.
Prof. Alexander Dvorkin, president of the Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Sectarian Studies, has proposed to introduce a number of new notions in the Russian Criminal Code for more effective counteraction to totalitarian cults.
Prof. Alexander Dvorkin, a well-known Russian specialist in sects and president of the Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Sectarian Studies, has found ungrounded the wish of Krishnaite community in Moscow to build a temple in the Russian capital.
About 600-800,000 Russian citizens are involved in religious sects in a country of 142 million people, most of whom are Orthodox Christians, the president of the Moscow-based religion and sect study center said Tuesday.
The Kremlin might back away from a new law that would force churches and religious groups to report to the government on their services, sermons and sources of income.