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RUSSIA: Two fines, two more sentences imminent, court-ordered book destructions

Two readers of Islamic theologian Said Nursi have been fined in Tatarstan for exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief, with sentences on a further two expected on 19 March, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Although a similar criminal case in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has been abandoned, a criminal investigation […]

Ukrainian Catholics fear ‘new oppression’ after Russian takeover

By Jonathan Luxmoore Catholic News Service OXFORD, England (CNS) — A Ukrainian Catholic priest in Crimea said church members are alarmed and frightened by the Russian military occupation and fear their communities might be outlawed again if Russian rule becomes permanent. Father Mykhailo Milchakovskyi, a pastor in Kerch, Ukraine, described the atmosphere as tense because […]

RUSSIA: Two “extremism” bans overturned – but bans, fines continue

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service, and Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18 News Service A Krasnodar court has overturned a ban on a popular Russian translation of the Koran (though the court has still not issued the written ruling), while a Tver court has overturned a ban in Russia on the main Jehovah’s Witness international […]

Harassment will continue despite Putin’s amnesty

The harassment of civil society in Russia will continue unabated despite the release of prisoners of conscience, said Amnesty International today. The organization has long campaigned for the immediate and unconditional release of a number of prisoners of conscience (POCs) freed recently under President Putin’s amnesty. Several others being tried in connection with the 2012 […]

Dispatches: Shocked by Russia’s Intolerance

by Tanya Cooper, Human Rights Watch In recent days the presidents of Germany, France and the United States announced they wouldn’t attend the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. None explained why they decided to skip the Games, but one can guess that the appalling human rights situation in Russia played a part. Of […]

Updated List of Nongovernmental Organizations Targeted under the “Foreign Agents” Law

In early March 2013 the Russian government launched an unprecedented, nationwide campaign of inspections of thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify advocacy groups the government deems “foreign agents” and force them to register as such. The list below tracks the legal consequences of the law on dozens of NGOs. Since the beginning of the “foreign agents” campaign, various […]

The Extremism and Xenophobia of Ukraine’s Svoboda (Freedom) Party

by Leonid Stonov, International Director August 2013 More than half a year has passed since the nationalist, right-wing, extremist party “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) became one of the main Ukrainian parties that crossed the parliamentary barrier and had a representative in a high position – vice-speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament). What has happened to Ukraine? […]

Shot Dagestan Rabbi in Stable Condition

The Times of Israel has reported that Ovadia Isakov, a Chabad rabbi, was in serious but stable condition after being shot by a suspected terrorist in Russia on Thursday. Isakov is the chief rabbi of Derbent, in the Republic of Dagestan. Russia’s Investigative Committee stated that Isakov’s overt Jewish identity “is among the possible motives investigators are […]

‘Children of Refuseniks Report from the Frontlines’ Podcast

Vox Tablet, a weekly podcast, recently published “The Children of Refuseniks Report From the Frontlines of Putin’s Russia: Journalists Masha Gessen, Miriam Elder, and Michael Idov talk about a changing Russia and their place in it.” Contributor Julia Barton speaks to each of them about why they’ve chosen to live and work in the place […]

Belarus: Activist Aliaksei Shchadrou Facing Jail for Helping the Homeless

Aliaksei Shchadrou is facing a two-year prison term in Belarus for acting on behalf of an unregistered religious organization. If jailed he will be a prisoner of conscience. Aliaksei Shchadrou, a 28-year-old devout Catholic, had been running a shelter for homeless people, with a prayer room, in his detached house in a village in the […]