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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” 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 […]

Kiev to appoint special envoy to combat anti-Semitism

The announcement came days after representatives of the European Jewish Congress urged the EU to create just such an office. Ukraine will soon appoint an envoy tasked with preventing and combating anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Last week’s announcement came days before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by the Red Army […]

UNESCO Holocaust exhibition nixed following Latvian protests

Riga officials said to object on grounds exposition on children in the Salaspils concentration camp would damage their country’s image Latvian officials prevented the opening of an exhibition about the Holocaust that Russia wanted to host at a United Nations building. The exposition, titled “Stolen childhood: Holocaust victims Seen by Child Inmates of Salaspils Nazi […]

Russia: Government against Rights Groups

In 2012 Russia’s parliament adopted a law that required nongovernmental organizations (NGO)s to register as “foreign agents” with the Ministry of Justice if they engage in “political activity” and receive foreign funding. The definition of “political activity” under the law is so broad and vague that it can extend to all aspects of advocacy and human rights work. […]

Kyiv Making Gains in Religious Dimension of the Ukrainian-Russian Conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to use religion to advance an expansionist agenda. But an increasing number of believers in Ukraine appear to be rejecting the notion that Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church are the defenders of the true faith. Religion became a battleground in Ukraine long before the Euromaidan movement gained power […]

Russian Orthodox Activists Say Charlie Hebdo Shooting Was ‘Just Punishment’

Russian Orthodox activists rallied outside the French Embassy in Moscow with signs blaming this week’s massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo on the newspaper’s own practice of lampooning various religions — and on the French government for tolerating its satire. While scores of Muscovites laid flowers outside the embassy to extend their condolences to the families of the 12 people killed in the attack and their grieving nation, a handful of Orthodox demonstrators […]