Is Religious Freedom ever possible in the Russian Federation?

CAP LC logo

OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2019
Working session 13 : Tolerance and non-discrimination II, including:
– Combating racism, xenophobia, and discrimination
– Combating anti-Semitism and intolerance and discrimination against Christians, Muslims and members of other religions

Is Religious Freedom ever possible in the Russian Federation?

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

CAP Freedom of Conscience was  created  in  2000  to  defend  religious  minorities  against discrimination in France and in Europe. CAP LC is granted of the ECOSOC consultative status of the United Nations.

During the last OSCE sessions on Freedom of Religion or Belief, we exposed the harmful activities of FECRIS (the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Cults and Sects) in Russia and its integral financing by the French Government.

Members of FECRIS and of its Russian branch, the Saint Ireneus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies which is affiliated to the Orthodox Church, have been waging for years a campaign against non-Orthodox minorities in order to eradicate them from the Russian territory.

Alexander Dvorkin, Vice-President of FECRIS and Director of the Saint Ireneus of Lyons Centre is the major spokesperson and activist in this campaign against religious minorities in Russia. The situation of religious minorities has worsened during the last years as the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the harassment of the Hindu community and others.

FECRIS claims in its by-laws that its activities do not enter « the religious field » and declares to be neutral in this matter. How is it then, that the Vice-President of FECRIS, an organization registered in secular France and massively financed by the French State, is Alexander Dvorkin, a Russian citizen blessed, financed and missioned by the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch to combat religious minorities perceived as competitors?

We therefore ask the French Government to cease its support to FECRIS and its harmful activities in Russia.