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Why were Hundreds of Religious Organizations in Russia Inspected?

Hundreds of religious communities across Russia were among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) inspected by officials.

According to a story by Geraldine Fagan of Forum 18 News Service, the inspections ranged from a simple telephone request for documents to numerous, extensive searches.

It “wasn’t simply the initiative of the Prosecutor,” Moscow-based lawyer Konstantin Andreyev told Forum 18. He added, “There’s a political subtext.” Forum 18 said yet the new regulations on foreign funding for NGOs – including designation of some as “foreign agents” – do not legally apply to religious organizations.

In several cases, Forum 18 reported, religious organizations appear to have been inspected due to “foreign” links, such as the Catholic charity Caritas and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Forum 18 said the General Prosecutor’s Office order for the sweep is not public.

However, Samara Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered that inspections should check compliance with laws on “surveillance and criminal procedure,” and the Extremism Law by “social and religious associations and other non-commercial organizations.”

For more information go to www.forum18.org

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