Religious Freedom Issues
ARE CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS A THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY?
KESTON INSTITUTE, OXFORD, UK, 12/11/2002
Russia - Recently-leaked extracts from a 15-page draft paper on the prevention of religious extremismů
due to be presented at a joint session of three government bodies next month "simply cannot be used in a document of that level," Vladimir Zorin, a government minister without portfolio dealing with religious and ethnic issues, told national TVS television. However, Nadezhda Kevorkova, a journalist from Gazeta newspaper, which published extracts from the draft paper, insisted that "we have not invented anything". According to Kevorkova's article, the draft paper names several confessions as threats to Russian national security. First to be cited is the Roman Catholic Church, which has declared "the territory of Russia to be an ecclesiastical province" and is winning over "individual priests and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church as converts to catholicism [sic]." Second are Protestants. "Under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid, many new Protestant organisations are fostering self-alienation from the
Russian state within various sections of the population," Gazeta quotes the draft paper as
maintaining. The Moscow-based Slavic Centre for Law and Justice and the Institute of Religion and Law described the draft paper as "scandalously incompetent and anti-constitutional". The most likely result of implementation of such a project, they maintain, would not be national security, but "an increase in interconfessional and interethnic tension within our country".
© KESTON INSTITUTE, OXFORD, UK