Michael Avramovich explains more about Russia’s new laws restricting religion. We have blogged about the one requiring all Christian evangelism–except for that of the Russian Orthodox Church–to be conducted within a church service (not in a home, not online). There are other strict restrictions on religious bodies, again, other than the Russian Orthodox Church.
From Michael Avramovich, Putin’s New Law Restricts Non-Orthodox Christians In Russia – Mere Comments:
Several weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law controversial “counter-terrorism amendments” that have alarmed many civil and religious liberty proponents. The new law was first proposed by the nationalist United Russia party lawmaker Irina Yarovaya, and is considered the most restrictive religious liberty measure in post-Soviet history. With regard to provisions affecting all non-Orthodox churches, the new law places broad limitations on missionary work, including preaching, teaching, and engaging in any activity designed to invite people into a religious group. These new laws target all Christian groups outside of the Russian Orthodox Church, even though in an interview published in early August, Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia stated that the Russian Orthodox Church is growing rapidly, and in fact, over the past six years, has added 5,000 churches and 10,000 new clerics. Under the new law, in order to share one’s Christian faith with others, Russians must now obtain a government permit through a registered religious organization. Christians can no longer evangelize anywhere, but can only do so in within churches and religious sites. Further, the new restrictions apply to activities in private homes, and online as well. Thus, under the new law, Christians in Russia will be unable to email friends an invitation to church or to a home Bible study. The penalties for violation of this new law are severe; those found guilty of violations of the new anti-evangelism law face fines of up to US $780 for an individual and up to $15,500 for a church or organization, a large sum of money for most Christians and churches. Moreover, any foreign nationals who violate this law face deportation.