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Concern Expressed by the Kavkazsky Union of the Seventh Day Adventists Over the Inclusion of “Sectologists” Who are Known for Their Struggle Against Non-orthodox Members in the Membership of the Council under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation

3 June 2009

The Kavkazsky Union of the Seventh Day Adventists has expressed concern over the inclusion of “sectologists” who are known for fighting against non-orthodox members in the membership of the Council over the Conducting of State Theological Expert Studies under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, reports the Press Service of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice.

A petition within the framework of the All-Russia Perpetual Action “No to Inquisitors!,” in which Seventh Day Adventists from various regions of Russia have already become participants, was sent to the institute of Religion and Justice from P. I. Liberansky, president of the Religious Organization “Kavkazsky Union” Church of the Seventh Day Adventists:

“Eurasian Section
Religious Organization “Kavkazsky Union”
Church of the Seventh Day Adventists

Russia
Rostov on the Don

To Aleksandr Vladimirovich Konovalov
Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation

Dear Aleksandr Vladimirovich,

The Church of the Christians of the Seventh Day Adventists hereby express their concern relative to the membership of the Council over the Conducting of State Theological Expert Studies under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation which was formed by order of the Ministry of Justice of Russia on March 3, 2009.

Firstly, the Expert Council has been given unprecedented authority for that of a state organ to monitor religious organizations, as well as their forms and methods of religious activity, which could be viewed as an infringement of the principle of separation between church and state and as blatant interference into the internal business of religious organizations.

Secondly, a large group of the members of the Expert Council are not only representatives of definite religious organizations, but they are also people who that are known for their struggle against non-orthodox organizations and movements in our country from the position of orthodox sectology.  Such examples are A. L. Dvorkin, A. V. Kuz’min, Y. V. Mukhtarov, A. V. Vasil’chenko, and Lev Semenov.  Meanwhile, these kinds of radically biased sectologists have been included in the Expert Council, having received the right to make recommendations in the name of the government, which will unavoidably lead to conflicts and law suits in the area of infringements upon the rights of religious persons in the future.

Thirdly, the rating of religious organizations aimed at public encouragement of one or another world views on non-normative and unjust grounds through the government granting or not granting status of a religious organization on the basis of a decision by the Expert Council infringes upon Article 14, Pg. 28, P. 2, Article 29 and Article 13.1 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.  It breaches the provision that the state “will not interfere in the activity of any religious associations if it does not contradict the federal law “concerning freedom of conscience and religious associations (P 2. A. 4 F3 № 125).

We ask you to remove the persons listed in this letter from the Expert Council.

We appeal to you, dear Aleksandr Vladimirovich, to display principality and state wisdom for the good of the interdenominational world and harmony in our country.

With respect,

President of the Religious Organization
“Kavkazcky Union” Church of the Seventh Day Adventists, P. I. Liberansky”
On April 22, 2009, a Russia-wide Perpetual Action – “No to Inquisitors!” – was started in protest against the presence of radical “sectologists” in the new membership of the Council of Conduction of Government Theological Expertise under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.  The Action is being conducted under the initiative of the Institute of Religion and Justice.  The foundation of the Action has been the collection of signatures for an Open Petition to Aleksandr Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation.  Copies will also be sent to the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedyev, and to Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

We invite both scholarly and religious societies from all countries as well as public figures, lawyers and activists to contribute to and participate in this Action.  Your voices and opinions will be published on our web site.  An open petition to Aleksandr Konovalov, Minister of Justice of the Russian Federation, is necessary and can be directly sent from both religious organizations and scholarly centers, as well as ordinary citizens of Russia who do not agree with their activities being judged by “inquisitors” such as Dvorkin and his colleagues.  Furthermore, the membership of the Council under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has already been used and will continue to be used by “sectologists” to influence officials and law-enforcement agencies and to spread propaganda of their own “anti-sect” demands – on unjust grounds to limit the activity of “non-traditional” religious organizations in Russia.

The Action “No to Inquisitors!” is an opportunity to openly and clearly declare your own protest against the “inquisitors’” efforts to forcefully save our souls, without regard for our wishes and against the discredit of secular science, even theological expert evaluations, and also to protest against the clericalization of society and the destruction of the foundations of a just and secular government in Russia. 

By order of the Ministry if Justice of Russia on March 3, 2009, No. 61, a Council of Conduction of Government Theological Expertise under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation was to be created; and that Council would have authority to counsel concerning religious affairs.  Included in the council membership along with recognized scholars and experts were the following: Aleksandr Dvorkin, leader of the Sectological Center of Saint Iriney Lionsky; Aleksandr Kuz’min, leader of the Saratov Department of Dvorkin’s Sectological Center, author of material on which is based anti-sect which has been admitted as extremist by a court; Evgeny Mukhtarov, a Yaroslavl’ journalist-sectologist; Lev Semyonov, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, collaborator with Dvorkin’s Center, and also Andrey Vasil’chenko, a Yaroslavl’ sectologist and  specialist on German fascism, author of an entire series of popular books on the history of the Third Reich and one of the founders of an organization of nationalistic doctrine, “The League of Patriotic Youth,” along with Evgeny Mukhatorov in the 1990’s.

 

 
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