Religious Persecution Through Bureaucratic Obstacles

Country: Russia

Date of incident: January 1, 2006

(ongoing) Visa difficulties for religious personel; police failure to protect the faithful; administrational obstacles prevent religious services.

Religious persecution assumes administrative characteristics in a line of nationalistic overtones. Bureaucratic obstacles prevail, albeit in a situation in which ecumenical relations between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches are improving. With new managerial classes replacing the old pro-Soviet nomenclatures there appears to be greater room also for freedom of worship. Report 2005 on Religious Freedom in the World – Aid to the Church in Need • June 2006 – Pentecostals, Catholics and Baptists are among religious communities to complain recently of police failure to protect them from attacks or other unwarranted intrusions during services or of police raids to prevent them conducting religious activity – such as giving out religious literature – which they regard as legitimate. Forum 18 News Service 06/07/2006 • June 2005 – Protestant communities wanting to build a place of worship face increasing obstruction from state authorities. For example, a protracted series of discussions and protests have still not enabled Moscow's Emmanuel Pentecostal Church to either obtain a new construction site or official rights to the land beneath a building it owns. Similar problems have been encountered by Protestant churches elsewhere in Russia. Forum 18 News Service 08/24/2005 • November 2004 – Catholic clerics are having mixed results in their efforts to obtain visas so that they can minister in parishes in Russia. Some regions have a positive attitude to Catholic clergy, with others having a decidedly negative attitude. Moscow’s Archbishop Tadeuz Kondrusiewicz cited the different responses to visa requests as one of the main problems facing the Catholic clergy in Russia. 26/11/2004 • July 2004 – Several Russian regions draw up anti-missionary laws modelled on the 2001 law adopted in Belgrood. The two latest regions to adapt this law are Kursk and Madagan. The law makes it extremely difficult for foreign missionaries to enter the country. Forum 18 News Service 12/07/2004 • June 2004 – In Khabarovsk non-orthodox churches are unable to hold services. According to its parish priest, Father Joseph McCabe, the Catholic parish of the Immaculate Conception in Khabarovsk is even unable to get back its own church building, which was confiscated in 1933. Forum 18 News Service 07/06/2004 • January 2004 – Two people where injured when a powerful bomb exploded at a Protestant church in Tula. Authorities claimed that the explosion was caused by gas leak. However, church leaders were convinced it was a bomb. They also stated that the church had received many threatening letters in recent months. The Voice of the Martyrs 28/01/2004 • March 2003 – Primosky Krai regional court ruled closure of charismatic Bible college for “conducting educational activity without a license”. Forum 18 News Service, 21/4/2003 • January 2003 - Government document outlining proposals for countering “religious extremism” has listed the Catholic Church and Protestant churches as the number one and two threats to national security. Compass Direct, 13/1/2003