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RUSSIA: Jehovah’s Witness activity largely halted

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 Russia has summarily suspended most Jehovah’s Witness activities. UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai told Forum 18: “The Russian government is claiming that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are an extremist group, but in fact it’s their move to ban them outright that appears to be extreme.” As Jehovah’s Witnesses await a Supreme […]

American Chabad rabbi called security risk in Russia, ordered to leave

February 8, 2017  (JTA) — An American rabbi who has worked for the Chabad movement in Russia since 2002 said he and his family are facing deportation under a provision dealing with threats to national security. Ari Edelkopf, a father of seven who grew up in the United States and lived in Israel before settling in […]

Russia, a court will determine whether the New Testament is “extremist”

Nina Achmatova The case is related to the Gideons mission who wanted to import sacred texts, according to the law. Customs in Vyborg, however, blocked the shipment claiming they wanted to verify the presence of extremist literature. Moscow (AsiaNews) – On 16 November in Vyborg, near St. Petersburg, the city court will hold a hearing […]

Kiev Orthodox and Greek-Catholics excluded from the Inter-religious Council of Crimea

Nina Achmatova The decision of the Russian authorities on Black Sea peninsula sparks debate. The Crimea is adapting to Russian legislation, which recognizes only  ‘traditional’ Buddhism, Judaism, Orthodoxy and Islam. Moscow (AsiaNews) – After a year and a half of discussions, the Russian authorities in Crimea – Ukrainian peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014, following […]

American pastor’s ministry facing closure under Russia’s new anti-evangelism law

Lorraine Caballero      05 October, 2016 12:10 PM An American pastor’s ministry in Russia is facing its end after he was charged with violating the country’s anti-evangelism law under its new anti-terror legislation. Donald Ossewaarde, 55, is the first American who has been charged under Russia’s new anti-terror laws. The “Yarovaya” legislation has a […]

RUSSIA: Two prison terms, 25 initial fines in 37 cases for public religious events over 4 months

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 News Service Over four months between May and August, 37 cases were brought to punish individuals and religious communities across Russia for exercising freedom of religion or belief in public spaces under Administrative Code Article 20.2, Forum 18 News Service has found. One community was fined after members offered religious […]

Weekly Update No. 39

Rights in Russia: Week-ending 23 October 2015 [see also attachment] Rights in Russia: September 2015 [see also attachment] Comment  Liudmila Alekseeva on World Food Day Aleksei Simonov: “It’s important to shout out loud enough that the emperor has no clothes, so that both emperor and crowd can hear” HRO.org in English  Political prisoner Oleg Navalny describes conditions […]

Mission Accomplished

Notwithstanding the old adage that behind every great man there stands a great woman, too many great men forget to acknowledge the women who walked with them in the wilderness and who shared the struggle in the days before the glory. Not so Isi Leibler, a former president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, […]

Russian Chabad rabbi slams foreign funding bill

(JTA) — In a rare rebuke of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy, a senior Chabad rabbi from Moscow expressed concerns over a bill aiming to limit foreign involvement. Boruch Gorin, aide to Chief Russian Rabbi Berel Lazar and chairman of Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, on Tuesday expressed his criticism of a government-backed bill […]

Lithuanian fascists march beneath swastikas near execution site of 10,000 Jews

“This march is particularly offensive because it is taking place where locals and Nazis murdered more than 10,000 Jews in one day.” Approximately 500 ultra nationalists, some bearing Nazi swastikas, marched through a Lithuanian city that during the Holocaust saw the region’s most effective massacre of Jews. Monday’s march through Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city 60 […]