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RUSSIA: Long-running cases against Muslims for meetings

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 Eleven Russian Muslims currently face “extremism” criminal charges for meeting together and reading the works of theologian Said Nursi. Two have been detained before trial since March 2016, and one has not been allowed to pray. An atheist blogger’s next hearing is on 2 February. Eleven Russian Muslims face “extremism” […]

Cardin Statement on Hospitalization of Russian Opposition Activist Vladimir Kara-Murza

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Thursday after Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was hospitalized in a possible poisoning attack: “I was alarmed to see reports that Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza was taken to the hospital today. His symptoms appear to […]

Senior Russian lawmaker: Jews still seeking to destroy our churches

January 25, 2017  (JTA) — The deputy speaker of the Russian parliament intimated that Jews are using their positions in the media and government to continue the work of ancestors who “pulled down our churches.” Peter Tolstoy at a news conference Tuesday on plans to move a cathedral in St. Petersburg appeared to blame Jews for […]

The Spies Who Love Putin

How the FSB’s loyalty to Russia’s president made it the country’s most powerful intelligence agency Ria Novosti / Kremlin / Alexei Druzhinin / Reuters It’s tempting to look to the playbooks and historical traditions of the late Soviet Union to explain the audacity of today’s Russian intelligence activity, from its meddling in U.S. elections, to […]

Teacher Talking About Yoga is Arrested in Russia For Illegal Missionary Activity

A yoga teacher in Russia was arrested in St. Petersburg, Russia on the charge of indulging in missionary activities. The arrest was carried out amidst fears that the teacher’s talks would led to the creation of new religious cults. Russia currently has a law in place banning all missionary activities. The yoga teacher’s speech was […]

What makes Putin tick, and what the West should do

Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy Friday, January 13, 2017 Editor’s Note:This piece is adapted with permission from “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” By Fiona Hill and Clifford G. Gaddy (Brookings Institution Press, 2015). In the book, they aimed to answer the question of who is Russian President Vladimir Putin and what motivates him. The authors […]

RUSSIA: Religious freedom survey, January 2017

By Victoria Arnold, Forum 18 Russian laws restricting freedom of religion and belief have increased, as have prosecutions of people exercising this freedom. Given intensifying official hostility to independent public activities without state permission, freedom of religion and belief and interlinked human rights may in future be increasingly restricted. Since Vladimir Putin re-election as President […]

Two Russian Compounds, Caught Up in History’s Echoes

By MARK MAZZETTI and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT DEC. 29, 2016 The Long Island retreat called Killenworth that was once the home of George duPont Pratt. The estate is often nearly empty, according to law enforcement officials, inhabited year-round by just a few Russian caretakers. Credit Johnny Milano for The New York Times WASHINGTON — A […]

Vienna rabbis condemn Russia’s chief rabbi for meeting head of Austria’s Freedom Party

December 27, 2016 (JTA) — Rabbis in Vienna condemned the chief rabbi of Russia for meeting the head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party. Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar met this week with Heinz-Christian Strache and his delegation at his office in Moscow, the UK Jewish News reported. The meeting came two weeks after the Freedom […]

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 […]