Key Staff

Vladimir Ryakhovsky, co-chairman of the SCLJ, attorney-at-law, member of the Bar Association of Moscow
Vladimir has defended the rights of believers in the Russian courts since 1990. His keen interest in and dedication to the cause of religious freedom protection have their roots in his personal history. He grew up in a family of Evangelical Christians and his father, a bishop of the Pentecostal Church, served 10 years in prison for his religious convictions under the atheistic Soviet regime. Vladimir decided to become a lawyer to be able to defend the rights of those, who, like his father, were persecuted for their belief in God.

He was educated in the All-Union Law Institute in Moscow (currently known as Moscow Law Academy) – Russia's best and most prominent law school. For several years, he served as a judge of a Moscow district court.

From 1990 to 1992 he was a Deputy Director for Legal Matters of the Russian Bible Society, helping this Christian organisation to establish its presence in Russia. In 1993, together with Anatoly Pchelintsev, he founded the Christian Legal Centre, later renamed as the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice.

Over the years, he was and continues to be a member of numerous parliamentary and governmental commissions and expert boards, and in this capacity he took part in the drafting of several laws, such as the Federal Law “On Freedom of Conscience and On religious associations”, “On Alternative Civilian Service”.

He wrote several books and numerous other publications dealing with matters related to human rights and freedoms. He took part as a speaker in many conferences held at the national and international levels and gave talks in universities in the US, France and other countries. He is a member of the editorial board of the Religion and Law journal.

However, he believes that his most important work is defending religious rights of individuals and organisations in courts. He argued numerous civil rights cases, many of them in the highest courts of the country and in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

In 2001 he received an award of the Human Rights Commissioner “For Protection of Human Rights” in recognition for his outstanding contribution to cause  of religious freedom.

Anatoly Pchelintsev JD, co-chairman of the SCLJ, attorney-at-law, member of the Bar Association of Moscow
Anatoly began his legal career serving as a military investigator and prosecutor in the Soviet and then Russian army.

His mother was a Baptist and it is from her that Anatoly received his knowledge about and interest in the Bible and Christianity. He qualified as a military lawyer in 1978, having graduated from the Department of Law of the Military Institute, Moscow, and he had his first experience in religious freedom work working on the cases where he had to prosecute conscientious objectors. This led him to the realisation of the unfairness of the system and Anatoly has become one of the first lawyers to actively advocate the right to alternative civilian service.

After his work as a prosecutor, in 1985 he took up a teaching and research positions in the Military Institute and later in the Ministry of Defence. Emphasis on educating public officials and a new generation of practicing lawyers has always been strong in his work even after he founded the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice together with Vladimir Ryakhovsky.

He is the editor-in-chief of the Religion and law journal, member of the Expert Board for State Evaluation of Religious Organisations of the Ministry of Justice, member of the Expert Council of the Parliamentary Committee for Civic Associations and Religious Organisations.

He was a member of the Constitutional Commission that had the mandate of redrafting the new Russian Constitution adopted in 1993. He has also contributed to the drafting of several draft laws as a member of numerous parliamentary and governmental commissions.

Anatoly Pchelintsev is the author of several books and over a hundred other publications dealing with human rights issues, implementation of the right to freedom of conscience and church-state relations. He took part as a speaker in many conferences held at the national and international levels and gave talks in universities in the US, France, Spain, and Finland.

Dr. Anatoly Pchelintsev successfully argued numerous cases involving the right to freedom of religion — including the rights of conscientious objectors. As an expert witness, he testified in many court cases concerning human rights, religious freedom and church-state relations in the highest courts of Russia. He represented the interests of a Pentecostal church, when the Constitutional Court of Russia reviewed for the first time the outrageously discriminatory provision of the 1997 Act On Freedom of Conscience and On Religious Associations.

Roman Lunkin PhD, Public Information Officer
Roman is a historian, sociologist. journalist, research fellow of the Institute of Europe of  the Russian Academy of Sciences, and a staff member of the Religion and Society Research Centre of the Institute of Europe. He joined SCLJ team in 2006.

Prior to this, he worked as a freelance and staff journalist of various print and electronic media, including Christian and secular radio and TV channels.

From 1998 to 2000 he was a Russian correspondent of the Keston News Service and of the Frontier magazine published by the Keston Institute (Oxford, UK). From 1998 to date he has been a member of the Russian team of the Keston Institute working on one of the Institute's long-term projects, an encyclopedia of contemporary Russia's religious life.

Since 2004 he has actively collaborated with the religious information web-portal, as an author, correspondent and later a columnist.

He is the author of 20 academic works in sociology of religion and socio-political issues.

Roman Maranov, Attorney-at-Law, Member of the Bar Association of Moscow
Roman Maranov received his law degree from Perm State University. While in his sophomore year, he started working as a volunteer for human rights organizations in the city of Perm (Urals region) and continued with the same line of work as a lawyer after graduation.
The main focus of Roman Maranov's work became advocating the rights of draftees, military servants on conscription and conscientious objectors who at that time were not protected by any law on alternative civilian service. Roman Maranov also claimed conscientious objection since he was under conscription.
Between 1995 and 2002, he held the position of lawyer at the Perm Regional Human Rights Defender Center. From 2002 to 2005, he worked as a lawyer at Perm branch of the Memorial, an international human rights society - one of the most renowned organizations of its kind in Russia.
Roman Maranov is an author and the director of a number of educational films for draftees and military servants. He has participated in several projects on human rights monitoring of military units and other closed institutions (prisons, mental asylums). He was a member of a team of developers of multimedia aids for human rights education in schools.
Roman Maranov has also interned with the European Court of Human Rights as an assistant lawyer.
In 2005, he began working for the SCLJ as an attorney-at-law, having argued over 300 civil, criminal, commercial and administrative cases including at the Supreme and Constitutional Courts of the Russian Federation.
Roman Maranov has authored several books and many publications on the subject of human rights and freedom of conscience.  Among them are "Alternative Civilian Service in CIS (former USSR) Countries," "The Textbook for a Prospective Lawyer," and "Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on Freedom of Religion and Belief."  In 2004, he received an award from the Human Rights Commissioner "For Protection of Human Rights" in recognition of his work.


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