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Church wants to be legally distanced from ‘foreign agents’ bill

Published time: July 09, 2012 14:51
Edited time: July 09, 2012 18:51
Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf)

Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow (RIA Novosti / Alexander Vilf)

The Russian Orthodox Church has asked to State Duma to make amendments to the bill that tightens the screws on foreign-funded NGOs so that the legislation would not affect religious organizations.

The document introducing ‘foreign agent’ status to non-governmental organizations that are financed from abroad and engage in political activity was approved in the first reading by the lower house on Friday.

A senior church member, Archpriest Georgy Roshchin pointed out that the bill still lacks clarity on some issues. In particular, the Church is concerned about judicial nuances related to foreign funding.

“Even though the church is not engaged in any political activities, we think the bill can still be used in order to falsely accuse the Church of such behavior,” he said.

However, “Overall, the Russian Orthodox Church supports the legislation on NGOs,” Roshchin told Itar-Tass.