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Tough anti-blasphemy law takes effect in Russia

July 01, 2013

A tough new anti-blasphemy law that takes effect in Russia on July 1 allows for fines up to 300,000 rubles ($9,000) and imprisonment for up to 2 years for public acts that “manifest patent disrespect for society and are committed with the aim of offense to the religious feelings of believers.” The penalties for offenses are increased if the acts take place in houses of worship.

Human-rights activists have expressed concern about the new law, seeing potential for abuses, including the use of secular courts to resolve religious disputes. But Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chief public-affairs official of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, welcomed the legislation and suggested that the penalties may be “too mild.”


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  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jul. 01, 2013 11:00 PM ET USA

    It's one thing to go after those who invade churches and desecrate them, but quite another to penalize speech in public, even offensive speech, and worrisome when the Church so quickly chimes in--especially knowing Russia's history on free speech. The archpriest is wrong, and the new law is dangerous because it is too broad.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jul. 01, 2013 2:40 PM ET USA

    Given the parlous state of public matters in the US, I cannot help but admire the Russians and I tend to agree with Archpriest Chaplin, the penalties may be a tad too mild. The recent outrages of a group of feminist nihilists in Moscow are surely the spark for this legal reaction, and it speaks to the decency and good sense of our Orthodox brethren that they were able to mold common decency and common sense into good legislation. Would we could do the same but we're simply too barbarian to do so