Crimea banned religious processions

By editor - 17.5 2017

Two court cases under the anti-terrorism amendments Irina Spring once again call into question the adequacy of the guardians of law and order. In the first case, the FSB insists that conduct worship services in a residential building are prohibited. In simple terms — encroach on the right to pray in his apartment.

At the same time in the Crimea, the judge has already ruled that the agreed religious procession through the streets of the city breaking the law.

We are talking about an event organized by the followers of Krishna and approved by the city. As exceptions for religions, the law does not, under the threat turned out to be such an ancient tradition, as the procession. As you know, this Christian ritual is performed not only by the procession around the Church, but on city streets, village, villages, from one Church to another, etc.

And all this is presented as anti-terrorist security measures.

We continue to acquaint readers with the chronicle of absurd court cases on religious amendments Irina Spring.


Almost a year ago adopted the “Spring package” — so nicknamed in the people of anti-terrorist amendments to the Federal law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations”. Surprise special lawyers called “missionary” of the amendments. Interpretation of this part of the law is so vague that can not lead to the phantasmagoric effects. We have already talked in detail about what follows: in the dock send those believers, who stand out from the crowd. Over the ridiculous attempts of militiamen to demonstrate the law in action may be simply to laugh. But at the same time, we must not forget about the main thing: the imperfection of the law prevents the identification of the truly dangerous activities of religious organizations.

For starters, remind yourself that the Constitution guarantees to all citizens to freely profess and practice any religion. Now fast forward to Karachay-Cherkessia, on a small farm Ershov, almost on the border with Krasnodar region. The population of the village — about a hundred people. Of these, approximately half are followers of Krishna. Despite the fact that in the region dominated by Islam, there are no conflicts between the local residents on the farm there. All know each other and each other friends.

The community of Hindus living in Yershov from the Soviet era. This settlement is located in the picturesque places on the very edge of civilization — after the borders are mountains. Buses do not go here, no shops, and random people. But co-religionists from across the country regularly come to Ershov to relax body and spirit.

Twenty years ago one of the locals had equipped the house as a meeting-place for believers. The building is tiny, consider the hut. All that is in it is the kitchen and a small room which was equipped under the altar.

The house is in private ownership and is a residential property but in fact no one lives there, but regularly hold meetings and Church services. But do not think that the hare Krishnas Ershova entirely left to themselves: the region is still worrisome, so with the audits of local law enforcement agencies visit all the time. From them, no one is hiding, all the locals know when and what happens on the farm, including the house-temple. The explanations of the believers took the same pattern: “What are you doing here?” — “Pray”. — “Pray to your health, but write us to report.”

Photo courtesy of the heroes of the material

Once passed the “law of Spring,” officials throughout Russia began ardently to perform it. It is curious that in Karachay-Cherkessia was filed the first case under the “missionary” amendments. However, it was discontinued — the actions of the accused is not found the offense. Apparently, almost a year later and once again I needed to draw someone. Remembered Yershov, about hare Krishnas, about the house with the altar… And one day a local policeman receives a letter from the regional FSB Department in which he is required to inspect for compliance with legislation on freedom of conscience and religious associations.

“…Cell of the International society for Krishna consciousness operates in violation of the requirements of the law Established that the religious rituals and missionary activities followers carried out in a residential building that testifies to violation of provisions of Federal law.”

It should be clarified that such dispatches from the counterintelligence does not mean that you have to really inspect. The response from the “we all checked, no violations of the” no one will. Nowadays such practices are interpreted very clearly. In this situation, the subtext read: “Your Krishna now violate the law, they should be punished”.

Chairman Ershovskogo society for Krishna consciousness, Sergei Belyaev know everyone in the neighborhood. In the world of Belyaev — doctor of medical Sciences, for seven years he taught at the Rostov medical Institute, then moved to Ershov and worked as a surgeon at a local hospital in a neighboring village.

The district was in a difficult situation. He was surprised that such a respected law enforcement agencies interested in the services on the farm and demanded to initiate proceedings. But could not refuse — otherwise his career would have ended here and now.

So the case was filed and will have to consider it.

But the accusations of the FSB-schnick have nothing to do with reality.

What did the hare Krishnas in a residential home? Prayed, sang, that is, services were held.

— Here only in this case the service has no relation to missionary activity, which is really prohibited in residential premises the Federal law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations”, — explains the lawyer of the Guild of experts on religion and law and protector Belyaev Mikhail Frolov. Is equivalent to the fact that forbid the family to pray before meals. The same law expressly permits in residential premises can hold religious services and ceremonies. But the law does not establish signs of worship to be able to determine: is the service or have missionary activities not related to worship?

However, what happened on the farm, deal is still possible. Article 24.1 of the aforementioned law manifests signs of missionary activity: this is activity which aims to spread information about a creed among persons who are not members of a religious Association, the purpose of which is these individuals are in this Union to involve. Ershovskiy Hindus could not pursue such a goal, because strangers on the farm just yet. And certainly they do not happen in arsovska the temple, where people come only co-religionists. To decide how these and other arguments are justified, now will be a trial. But before the court can conclude that the benefits of such a dubious initiative, there will be no. Only harm — now law-abiding believers Ershova scared and were thinking to move now somewhere deep in the mountains, where not only the police, actually not a soul you will not meet.


While KCR understand whether you can pray at home or not, in Simferopol, the court encroached on the ancient religious rites. Under the distribution fell again to the hare Krishnas. You could wonder such a strange coincidence, but really nothing surprising. Style dress and bright public speaking Hindus and attract those wishing to curry favor in the performance of the anti-terrorist duty.

Again the procession. Again agreed. And, most importantly, the usual they — the company of believers sang and danced in the streets of the city long before the island once again began to consider the Russian. But this time something went wrong. What exactly is hard to say. Rather, a witness of the event — and it was in January of this year — became one of the powers that be, and in a very bad mood. Because suddenly, despite the Sunday afternoon, on the street there were police officers and prosecutors. Participants were taken to the Prosecutor’s office and questioned. And in April, against the organizer Ivan Vasiliev filed an administrative case.

By the way, the “law of Spring” has forced believers seriously enlightened legally, so now the organizers of the religious activities are acting responsibly and have the authority to conduct missionary activities. Such powers had Vasiliev. But the court they were not interested. Ivan was accused that he conducted the procession in the street, in a public place. Prosecutors managed to read the law in such a way that it seemed like it was forbidden under any circumstances.

Photo courtesy of the heroes of the material

In paragraph 2 of article 24.1 of the Federal law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations” lists the places where missionary activity is carried out smoothly, — says Mikhail Frolov. Temples, cemeteries, places of pilgrimage etc. the Prosecution and the court took such a position, if in all other places, including on the street, it can not be done. But if you read the law carefully, it turns out quite different: in all other areas missionary activity can be carried out, but in accordance with established rules.

A key rule is that a citizen, a leading missionary activity must have authority from a religious organization which he is a member. And then preach where you want — in addition to residential areas. (Article 24.2 of the law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations”.) And the places listed in the law, mostly for religious purposes — the powers do not need. These arguments brought in court by the defence.

The court is very surprised. But she didn’t. And found these arguments… contrary to the law. Vasiliev still found guilty, and with the same wording with which he was charged with the accusation. The judge insisted that “paragraphs 2 to 4 of article 24.1 of Act No. 125-FZ of imperative law specifies areas in which it is possible to exercise missionary activity, including a street not specified”. Logic dictates to refer to article 24.2, which explained the procedure of this activity. Because of this it can be concluded that the drafters of the law did not only involve implementation outside the places listed above, but also tell under what conditions it is allowed. But this article remained unnoticed.

Thus, a slight movement of the hammer, the magistrate Olga Chepil actually banned on the territory of Crimea any religious processions in public places. As exceptions for religions, the law does not, under the threat turned out to be such an ancient tradition, as the procession. As you know, the procession takes place not only around the Church, but on city streets, village, villages, from one Church to another, etc., and if the servants of Themis, the procession of the Krishna followers outside the law, it turns out that organizers of the March of the followers of Jesus also can be convicted of exactly the same article.

By the way, for the procession came and the Agency that agreed on it. The Prosecutor’s office was so outraged by the “violation” that was sent to the administration of the Simferopol idea where accountable for the coordination of the event, knowingly violate the law. The employee responsible for it, demanded to punish. In the administration, of course, badly frightened, found guilty and complained that the punishment of the perpetrator, alas, I can not quit myself some time after March.

The decision of the court of Simferopol’s lawyers will appeal. As practice shows, to achieve justice in such cases. And here are several examples. In February we wrote about the fact that in Ekaterinburg have brought the case to Santa Claus, which is not stopped during the procession of the hare Krishnas distributing religious literature. The judge made the process as painless as possible for the prosecution: ordered the prosecution to ensure the presence of a witness from Novorossiysk girl, distributing literature, came to the parade from there. To find it in the short term, of course, was difficult. Therefore, the court ruled on already existing materials: the proceedings terminate due to the lack of offense.

Lawyers successfully appealed, and two missionary cases in Tver, about which we wrote in the material from 08.02.2017. The defendant in both cases is one. In the first case, a local resident Andrey Puchkov took part in the procession of hare Krishnas, where you just played the drum. The second made a speech before the concert in which they sang the ancient mantras in Sanskrit. The court both times found him guilty of violating the Law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations”. And in a higher court, the lawyers proved that the actions Puchkov was no sign of missionary activity in the illegal exercise of which he was accused.

What you end up with? Security forces (first and foremost the FSB, which seems to be without worries) bend over backwards to demonstrate the performance of newly (rather hastily cobbled together) of the act. The lower courts are not at risk to argue with them. But the cases of violations to get a little higher, and lawyers-professionals to persevere — and charges are often broken to smithereens because of the blatant ignorance of legal and law-makers, and performers.

How much money (not to mention the time and nerves to all participants of the process) is wasted? In principle, it is easy to calculate. And subtract this amount from, for example, the salaries of the authors of the bill. So, you see, and from the economic crisis would get out.