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 Escalation of Violence in Ukraine

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Thursday amid escalating violence in Ukraine: “In recent days, there has been a sharp spike in violence in Ukraine, and I mourn the loss of eight Ukrainian servicemembers who have been killed in the fighting.  The […]

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 […]

The Forgotten Holocaust: The Films of Boris Maftsir

An Israeli filmmaker works to revive the neglected, terrible history of Shoah victims in the Soviet Union By Izabella Tabarovsky January 27, 2017       (see http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/222730/films-of-boris-maftsir#)    In  a series of spellbinding documentaries, Boris Maftsir, an Israeli filmmaker, has been racing to prevent the last traces of the Holocaust in the USSR from vanishing for good. He went […]

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 […]

‘Shlichut’ under fire: Jewish Agency emissary to Ukraine expects aliya to rise

BySteve Linde 14 January 2017 Roman Polonsky, director of the Jewish Agency’s Department for Russian-speaking Jewry, says aliya from Ukraine has actually tripled in the last three years. UKRAINIAN OLIM prepare to fly to Israel.. (photo credit:SVETLANA MIKHALCHENKO) Although it is hardly reported in the media, two or three and sometimes up to 10 people […]

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 […]