Russia may soften religion law over Putin concerns

MOSCOW Sun Dec 2, 2012 3:05pm EST

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with leaders of Russia's parliamentary parties at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool

Russia's President Vladimir Putin meets with leaders of Russia's parliamentary parties at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, November 30, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian lawmakers are reworking a draft law introducing prison terms for religious offences after signs that Vladimir Putin is concerned it could undermine the delicate balance between the country's many religions.

The president's party proposed the law after two members of the Pussy Riot punk band were jailed for two years over a protest in a cathedral against Putin's increasingly close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Putin has trod a thin line between celebrating a secular state of many religions and promoting the Russian Orthodox Church since rising to power in 2000, but has leaned more on the Orthodox Church for support since starting his third term as president in May following protests against his rule.

Opponents say the draft law is intended as part of broader Kremlin moves to suppress dissent and bolster public support by casting Putin, a former KGB spy, as the protector of religious believers.

Critics have also said the definition of offending religious feelings is so broad and vaguely defined in the draft law that it risks being ineffective or applied selectively in practice, hurting relations between Russia's many religions.

"The impression is that in the Kremlin they understood that somehow they have overdone it," said Alexei Malashenko, a religion expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.

"The goal of this law is still to tighten regulations in general but they understand that a too radical tightening is dangerous so they will consult now and hold talks, especially as at the Kremlin itself there is no unanimity on that matter."

Yaroslav Nilov told Reuters that the parliamentary committee overseeing the legislation, which he heads, was looking again at the wording after Putin told his advisory council on human rights that lawmakers should not rush with the bill.

He did not comment on the jail term it now envisages -- up to three years for offending religious feelings and up to five years for inflicting damage on religious sites or holy books, in addition to fines and community work.

"What does offending religious feelings mean? Is the most important principle for Muslims, that there is no God but Allah, an offence to the religious feelings of Christians?," said Alexei Grishin, a member of Russia's Civic Chamber, an advisory body to the Russian authorities.

"Most likely it is if you approach it very stringently, as it suggests all other gods are not really gods. So the law really needs to be worded very precisely, otherwise it would lead to unpredictable consequences."

RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH RESURGENT

The Russian Orthodox Church has been resurgent since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but atheistic traditions are also strong after decades of repression of religious faith during the Soviet Communist era.

About three in four Russians say they are Orthodox Christians and a vast majority were outraged by the profanity-laced Pussy Riot protest in February, although far fewer supported the tough sentences, opinion polls showed.

The two members of the all-female protest band were sentenced for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Nilov, head of parliament's committee on civic and religious groups, said he hoped the jail terms would stay.

"We are refining the wording. The law will only be passed next year," he said, adding that one change discussed was aimed at avoiding legal discrimination of atheists.

"For example, we will move away from talking of safeguarding the feelings of believers towards creating a punishment for offending people because of their views on religion. Such a phrase will also include non-believers."

Rights activists have said the legislation, in its current form, could blur the line between religion and the state in Russia, which by constitution is a secular country.

"I think our legislation already has enough instruments to protect against attacks on citizens whose right to easily exercise their freedom of conscience, both in religious and other terms, is hindered," Russia's human rights ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, said.

(Editing by Timothy Heritage and Anna Willard)

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Comments (3)
DeanMJackson wrote:
Oh, look at what everyone forgot to notice didn’t occur after the “collapse” of the USSR:

During the first five years of Soviet power, the Bolsheviks executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and over 1,200 Russian Orthodox priests. Many others were imprisoned or exiled. According to Mitrokhin Archive and other sources, the Moscow Patriarchate has been established on the order from Stalin in 1943 as a front organization of NKVD and later the KGB. All key positions in the Church including bishops have been approved by the Ideological Department of CPSU and by the KGB. The priests were used as agents of influence in the World Council of Churches and front organizations, such as World Peace Council, Cristian Peace Conference, and the Rodina (“Motherland”) Society founded by the KGB in 1975.

The future Russian Patriarch Alexius II said that Rodina has been created to “maintain spiritual ties with our compatriots” as one of its leading organizers. According to the archive and other sources, Alexius has been working for the KGB as agent DROZDOV and received an honorary citation from the agency for a variety of services. Priests have also recruited intelligence agents abroad and spied on Russian emigrant communities. This information by Mitrokhin has been corroborated by other sources.

There were rumours that the KGB infiltration of the clergy even reached the point that KGB agents listened to confessions.

Ladies and gentlemen, those Communist agents inside the Russian Orthodox Church were never revealed and thrown out after the “collapse” of the USSR in late 1991! I bet you never even thought to think about that, did you? Well now you have ANOTHER proof (see other seven proofs below) that the “collapse” of the USSR was a strategic ruse, which also explains why the Russian “electorate” are only electing for their President persons who were Communist Party member Quislings during the Soviet era.

If the collapse of the USSR had been legitimate, the following obligatory actions would have taken place, as they always take place after political revolutions:

(1) Immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR high-ranking present and “former” Communist Party members within the various Federal government civilian/military/intelligence branches of the post Soviet republics were never arrested in the interests of national security:

Since there was no conquest that liberated the USSR, it would have been up to the people themselves to conduct the arrests to ensure the continuity of the freed state.

(2) Lower level Communist Party members within the 15 governments of the post USSR would have been immediately fired in the interests of national security:

The hated low-ranking CPSU members at all levels of government, who for 74 years persecuted the 90% of the population who were non-Communist, would have been fired from government positions, especially education. The freed Soviet public would then have requested assistance from the West to ensure critical services remained on-line until enough qualified freed Soviets could fill those positions.

(3) the Russian electorate these last 21 years have inexplicably only been electing for President and Prime Minister Soviet era Communist Party Quislings:

Presidents of Russia since 1991:

Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin – July 10, 1991 – December 31, 1999 – Communist.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – 31 December 1999 – 7 May 2000 (Acting) and May 7, 2000 – May 7, 2008 – Communist.

Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev – May 7, 2008 – May 7, 2012, during his studies at the University he joined the Communist Party.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – May 7, 2012 – Present, Communist:

Yeltsin and Putin would have been arrested in the interests of national security, while Medvedev would have been shunned by the newly freed Russians.

Imagine it’s 1784 America. The Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed the previous year ending the revolutionary war with Britain. So who do the electorates of the newly independent 13 colonies elect for their respective governors? They elect persons who were Loyalists (American supporters of Great Britain) during the war for independence! Of course, in reality the persecution was so bad for Loyalists in post independence America that they had to flee the country en masse for Canada.

Or try this one out: After the collapse of the South African Apartheid Regime in 1994, the majority block population reelect for their Presidents only persons who were National Party members before the 1994 elections!

(4) there was no de-Communization program initiated after the “collapse” of the USSR to ferret out Soviet era Communist agents still in power:

The fact that there were no Allies in the freed USSR to carry out a de-Communization program, meant the freed Soviets would not only have had to take up that program themselves but ensure, unlike the German de-Nazification example in post war Germany, its effectiveness since:

(a) there was no occupation force to ensure the Communists weren’t still in power or could mount a violent comeback; and

(b) ) unlike the Nazis that persecuted minorities in Germany, and were not generally hated by the dominant society, in the USSR Communists were the hated minority who persecuted the majority.

(5) not one “crime against humanity” indictment of the thousands of criminals still alive who committed crimes on Soviet territory:

Even post Nazi Germany (West and East) convicted and imprisoned Nazi war criminals.

(6) the refusal of the Russian Navy to remove the hated Communist Red Star from the bows of vessels, and the refusal of the Russian Air Force to remove the Communist Red Star from the wings of Russian military aircraft, not to mention placing the hated Communist Red Star on all new Naval vessels and military aircraft:

To the ordinary Russian, the Communist Red Star was the symbol for the hated Communist regime that for 74 years persecuted the 90% of the nation who were non-Communist; and

(7) Lenin’s tomb still exists in Red Square:

Just as the people of Germany tore apart the Berlin Wall in 1989, so too the Russian people would have destroyed Lenin’s tomb on December 25, 1991. The 74-year persecution of the 90% non-Communist Russian population would have seen Lenin’s tomb destroyed.

In order to understand the World Communist threat to our liberties, one must understand Communist strategy:

“Lenin advised the Communists that they must be prepared to “resort to all sorts of stratagems, maneuvers, illegal methods, evasions and subterfuge” to achieve their objectives. This advice was given on the eve of his reintroduction of limited capitalism in Russia, in his work Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder.

… Another speech of Lenin’s … in July 1921 is again highly relevant to understanding “perestroika.” “Our only strategy at present,” wrote Lenin, “is to become stronger and, therefore, wiser, more reasonable, more opportunistic. The more opportunistic, the sooner will you again assemble the masses round you. When we have won over the masses by our reasonable approach, we shall then apply offensive tactics in the strictest sense of the word.”

If you examine the backgrounds of prominent Russian figures, you will find that they have long Communist Party/ KGB or Komsomol pedigrees. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the Western media have accepted their sudden, orchestrated, mass “conversion” to Western-style norms of behavior, their endless talk of “democracy,” and their acceptance of “capitalism,” as genuine. “Scratch these new, instant Soviet “democrats,” “anti-Communists,” and “nationalists” who have sprouted out of nowhere, and underneath will be found secret Party members or KGB agents,” Golitsyn writes on page 123 of his new book [The Perestroika Deception]. In accepting at face value the “transformation” of these Leninist revolutionary Communists into “instant democrats,” the West automatically accepts as genuine the false “Break with the Past” — the single lie upon which the entire deception is based.

In short, the “former” Soviet Union — and the East European countries as well — are all run by people who are steeped in the dialectical modus operandi of Lenin. Without exception, they are all active Leninist revolutionaries, working collectively towards the establishment of a world Communist government, which, by definition, will be a world dictatorship.

It is difficult for the West to understand the Leninist Hegelian dialectical method — the creation of competing or successive opposites in order to achieve an intended outcome. Equally difficult for us to comprehend is the fact that these Leninist revolutionaries plan their strategies over decades and generations. This extraordinary behavior is naturally alien to Western politicians, who can see no further than the next election. Western politicians usually react to events. Leninist revolutionaries create events, in order to control reactions to them and manipulate their outcomes.” — William F Jasper, Senior Editor for The New American magazine.

You ask, what does Jasper mean when he says, “Leninist Hegelian dialectical method — the creation of competing or successive opposites in order to achieve an intended outcome”?

Simply explained, and on a tactical level, it’s called the “Scissors Strategy”, where one blade represents (for example) Putin & Company, however the other blade of the scissors–the leadership of the political “opposition” to Putin & Company–is actually controlled by Putin & Company*, which leaves the genuine opposition in the middle wondering why political change isn’t taking place. Understand this simple strategy?

On a strategic level, from 1960 – 1989 the USSR and China played the “Scissors Strategy”, by pretending to be enemies. This strategy allowed one side to play off against the other with the West, thereby gaining political advantages from the West, which neither Communist giant could have achieved if it was believed they were united. Clever, huh?

Dec 02, 2012 5:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Todd1 wrote:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Dec 02, 2012 11:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NeilMcGowan wrote:
DeanMJackson

You’ve ignored the fact that Patriarch Kirill, the current whackjob in charge of the Russian Orthodox Loony Church, is a KGB serving officer who is a brother-in-arms of Communist madman Vladimir Putin.

Nothing has changed. Putin is Communist scum. Kirill is Communist scum.

If you believe these paedophile pastors are Russia’s future, you’re kidding yourself. Church attendances have dropped four-fold since the scum loony Kirill and his fascist assistant Chaplin began their latest round of persecutions.

The best thing that could happen would be for Kirill to be killed in a car accident.

Dec 03, 2012 11:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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