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Saturday, July 20, 2013

You Mean, Atheists Have Feelings, Too?


Аccording to the just passed redaction of article 148 of the Russian Criminal Code, “public acts expressing manifest disrespect for society and carried out with the goal of insulting the feelings of religious believers” could bring fines of up to 300,000 rubles (over $9000) or up to a year of imprisonment, or fines of up to 500,000 rubles (over $15,000)—or up to three years in prison if the act is carried out in a place of worship or a place otherwise set aside for religious rituals or ceremonies (as was the famous Pussy Riot “punk prayer”).

This redaction was approved by Russia’s higher legislative chamber, the Federation Council, on June 26, following the requisite three successful readings in the lower chamber, the State Duma. President Putin signed it into law on June 30, and it went into effect on July 1. But then something curious happened.

In an interesting twist, the fact that the law protected the feelings of only the four “traditional” faiths of Russia—Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism—led to the expression of concerns about potential discrimination not only from human rights organizations, but also from Putin’s cabinet...

But instead of seeking to repeal the law, they’re seeking to expand its scope. According to Russian legislators associated with these efforts, revisions are underway to redact Article 148 yet again. Assuming these revisions go into effect, the law will now protect the feelings of adherents of “non-traditional” religions and atheists as well. How this will work in practice is anyone’s guess, but it seems likely to lead to a less open climate for public discourse.

Please, don't give people here any bright ideas.


July 20, 2013 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink


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