In 2014, Russia used religious controls in an attempt to diminish Crimea’s cultural identity. It plans to do the same to all of Ukraine.
A Tatarstan court had to reject the prosecutor’s suit to have a further 18 books by or about the Turkish Islamic theologian Said Nursi declared “extremist” as police had already burned them. According to a police letter seen by Forum 18 News Service, police claim not to have received a court decision ordering their return to the owner, Nakiya Sharifullina, who had controversially been convicted for “extremist” activity. “We still cry when we remember the burned books,” a local Muslim told Forum 18, adding that they “asked God that these people repent for their actions, since in these books were verses of the Holy Koran”. Four further Nursi titles, plus more Jehovah’s Witness publications, have been declared “extremist” and banned. Websites or pages that host religious materials controversially banned as “extremist” have similarly been banned and added to Russia’s Register of Banned Sites.
Reporting from Moscow — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paused in the last, quiet hours of a dying year to sign into law a controversial bill that eliminates jury trials for “crimes against the state,” a move that lawyers and human rights groups fear will be the start of a dangerous exertion of Kremlin control over government critics.
By Derek H. Davis – On October 15 the Russian Ministry of Justice took steps to begin liquidating 56 non-Russian Orthodox religious organizations. The groups face dissolution, Russian news sources reported, because they failed to file required annual reports on their activities. Those targeted include a range of non-Russian Orthodox organizations and churches but hardest hit were various Christian groups, both Protestant and Catholic. Baptist groups were prominent on the list, but Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist and Pentecostal groups were also included. Well known humanitarian groups such as World Vision and Youth with a Mission were also named, as was the Russian branch of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Non-Christian organizations were also named, including Muslim and Buddhist associations.