Vol. 2, No. 4, Fall 1994, Covering the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe
Growing Anti-Missionary Sentiments and Restrictions
Mayors in Kazan and Naberezhnyye Chelny, in Russia's Tatar Republic, ban the use of public buidings by religious groups.
Ukrainian legislators pass amendment which states "clergymen, religious
preachers, teachers, other representatives of foreign organizations who
are foreign citizens and come to visit temporarily in Ukraine may
preach religious doctrines, administer religious ordinances, or
practice other canonic activities only in those religious organizations
which invited them to come to Ukraine and with official approval of the
governmental body that has registered the statutes."
In an interview, Patriarch Alexei II calls for "a state Act ... to regulate activities of all these preachers in our country."
Foreign missionaries in Ukraine report an increase in the difficulty of obtaining residence visas.
Amendments to the current law on religion under discussion within the Russian government.
The government of Uzbekistan threatens Christian and other non-Muslim
groups with loss of legal status for evangelism of Muslims or
distribution of literature in Uzbek.
International Christian Seminar on "Totalitarian Cults in Russia" meets
in Moscow. The final document of the seminar affirms the right of all
religious movements to exist "which in their practice do not
infringe upon the basic human rights, the institutions of the family
and society and its laws, and which do not appeal, whether directly or
indirectly, to hatred or to the service of evil." The statement calls
for additional changes in legislation on religion in Russia and the
formation of an interdenominational commission to regulate religious
programs and education in state schools and institutes.
Moscow's Christian Legal Center holds briefing for parachurch
organizations on draft laws that would limit the activities of foreign
Conference on "Christian Faith and Human Enmity" takes place in Moscow
with representatives of Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish,
Islamic, and Buddhist communities. The final document states "in order
to make Christian efforts towards the common good coordinated and open
for discussion by Christians of various confessions and to help solve
problems and resolve possible disputes among Christians, we have agreed
to establish a mechanism of inter-Christian cooperation working on a
regular basis. It can include the Christian churches and religious
bodies which have traditionally served in the CIS and the Baltic
Twenty-five deputies of the Moscow City Duma sign appeal to the mass
media requesting greater caution in giving access to preachers and
representatives of religious sects.
Armenian president Levon Petrossian issues a decree restricting
religious activities because non-registered institutions and foreign
organizations are "ruining the moral and psychological climate."
Rossiiskaya Gazeta publishes article alleging that the United States has sent spies to Russia posing as Methodist missionaries.
April draft law on religion becomes public. Would allow government to
establish regulatory council and would limit foreign religious
organizations to activity approved by an affiliated Russian religious
Russia State Duma discusses and rejects a draft law on property rights
of religious organizations which also would have restricted the rights
of foreign religious workers.
Police in Uzbekistan evict a Russian charismatic church and two Korean churches from public buildings in Tashkent.
After threats to Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Seventh-day
Adventist churches, skinheads hold worshippers captive at a Church of
God in Rousse, Bulgaria. Seven church members severely beaten.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky pledges to stop Western religious organizations from operating in Russia if he is elected president.
Two days after the election of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, authorities warn visiting missionaries not to preach.
Operation Mobilization cancels evangelistic event scheduled for August
3 in Barna, Bulgaria, because of "the shrinking religious freedom in
The government of Bulgaria denies legal status to over 20 religious
organizations, including Scripture Union and Gideons International.
Word of pending changes in the law spreads through the foreign
religious community in Russia. Parliament member Gleb Yakunin calls for
Western protest of the law. Others fearful of the changes, nevertheless
question the advisability of Western public protest.
Wil Triggs is director of communications for Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries and coeditor of the East-West Church & Ministry Report.
President Boris Yeltsin meets with Patriarch Alexei II to discuss state
support for restoration of churches, and the participation of the
Russian Orthodox Church in the privatization of historical
Wil Triggs, "Timeline: Growing Anti-Missionary Sentiments and Restrictions," East-West Church & Ministry Report, 2 (Fall 1994), 2.
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© 1994 Institute for East-West Christian Studies
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