August 23, 2013 An example of a small True Orthodox Christian (ROAC) church harassed in Russian Federation for having Church sign. Poor reader tries to respond. Let us note the Russian Federation in its constitution does not claim to have a government recognized religion and Church (even though we may say it defacto does). For example, the Russian Federation constitution says in chapter 1, section 2, article 18, “The state shall guarantee the equality of rights and liberties regardless of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, property or employment status, residence, attitude to religion, convictions, membership of public associations or any other circumstance. Any restrictions of the rights of citizens on social, racial, national, linguistic or religious grounds shall be forbidden.” Article 28 says:
“Everyone shall be guaranteed the right to freedom of conscience, to freedom of religious worship, including the right to profess, individually or jointly with others, any religion, or to profess no religion, to freely choose, possess and disseminate religious or other beliefs, and to act in conformity with them.” There are other relevant sections. If, on the other hand, the Russian Federation in its constitution stated, “The Moscow Patriarchate is the official religion and all who do not accept it will be subject to persecution and disabilities,” then, while disagreeing, we could understand though obviously think such should no longer be government policy, as the past has demonstrated that persecution of groups (even though we may disagree with them) is not appropriate. But, Russian Federation law doesn’t say that they can harass groups that don’t agree with the Moscow Patriarchate.
In Russia, if you are not part of the government sponsored Moscow Patriarchate (which is is technically not the recognized religion or church by the Russian Consitution), you will be harassed. These are supposedly “helpers of Putin” or other such group; but, in Russia (just as in many countries), such ‘groups’ are in reality arms of the government, or ruling powers.