Russian MPs back harsher anti-blasphemy law

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Russian MPs have given initial approval to an anti-blasphemy law with tougher jail terms or fines for anyone found guilty of offending religious feelings.


The bill was drafted last year after the punk band Pussy Riot performed a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.

Two Pussy Riot members are now serving prison terms in remote penal colonies.

The bill says blasphemy could incur up to three years in jail or a fine of up to 300,000 roubles ($9,700;£6,300).

Russian commentators say the bill appears to have strong backing from Mr Putin. It was passed by the Duma – Russia's lower house – in a first reading on Tuesday.

To become law it has to pass two more readings in the Duma, then a vote in the upper house – the Federation Council – and get a final sign-off by Mr Putin. The entire parliament is dominated by Mr Putin's supporters.

The text refers to offences against religions that are "an integral part of Russia's historical inheritance" – implying that it covers Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Written By: BBC News
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

25 COMMENTS

  1. well there’s no surprise here. blasphemy laws are the best way to run a dictatorship as they are effectively witch hunts. even putting oneself forward to defend a case can lead to getting tied to the same stake.

    the only positive thing to come out of this is whenever you hear an american bleating on about jebus we can finally say “well why don’t you go live in russia?”

  2. Dear Russian RDFr’s. “Loochye igrayet v centp, chem na flangak”. (An old ‘n wise Russian chess saying!) “It is better to play in the CENTRE than on the flanks.” Those two are definitely NOT Grandmasters of the wonderfull game. I think we need an atheist Bobby Fischer. ;) m

  3. The text refers to offences against religions that are “an integral part of Russia’s historical inheritance” – implying that it covers Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

    That should keep lawyers in plenty of employment, dealing with inter-religious in-fighting over doctrinal differences!

  4. A dictator developing close ties with his in house myth racketeers – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    We remember the Reichskonkordat of 1933 -the treaty between the Holy See and Hitler’s Nazi Germany, that guaranteed the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany and the Lateran Accord of 1929 -the treaty between the fascist Italy of Mussolini and the “Holy” See granting Vatican sovereignty and making Catholicism the sole state religion of Italy. Both treaties obscenely still in effect today evading unscathed the complete postwar discredit and rejection accorded the Fascists i.e. the granting signatories.

    Then we have the long sordid history worldwide of A list dictators -corrupt brutalizers of their long suffering populations joined at the hip with the Catholic Church as their de facto state religion and in-house regime sanctifier.

    Well, at least those who not long ago were concern trolling, even openly criticizing pussy riot on these very pages should now be happy.

    • In reply to #6 by godsbuster:

      Well, at least those who not long ago were concern trolling, even openly criticizing pussy riot on these very pages should now be happy.

      I think you’re getting Pussy Riot mixed up with FEMEN. The former have never, to my knowledge, been the subject of criticism on this site.

      • In reply to #12 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #6 by godsbuster:

        Well, at least those who not long ago were concern trolling, even openly criticizing pussy riot on these very pages should now be happy.

        I think you’re getting Pussy Riot mixed up with FEMEN. The former have never, to my knowledge, been the subject of criticism on this site.

        A simple search would have brought your knowledge in line with reality and obviated the need for erroneous speculation: The posting of Pussy Riot’s closing statement August 18, 2012 garnered about 10 comments either hand-wringing over or outright slagging our girls’ actions. These received due push-back. Sorry you missed that exchange while busy uninformedly slagging FEMEN.

        Moreover, 4 days in, the 13 August 2012 posting on Pussy Riot’s arrest on this site had garnered a tepid total of 4 not especially committal comments ending up with a total of 10, of which 2 were mine railing against this sorry state of indifference.

  5. When government authority snuggles up to religion…you know the country is in deep doo doo from discontent and unhappiness with the rulers!

    If they can jail young women for expression of opinion on vague and dubious grounds, and they only did that on the urging of the church you can see a rather transparent agenda forming.

    The church is being sucked in by a political elite with a partisan view of peoples rights it is being used, it is well that the church should consider very carefully that getting in bed with the devil is called selling out to greed and ego and it usually ends in bitter tears.

    They might well become the laughing stock in the religious world globally, a church fronting for a government that willingly oppresses its own people by their tacit support, they are playing with fire, the ridiculous jail time those Pussycat riot gals got should remind the church that they ain’t seen nothing yet, when the purpose is to shore up a totalitarian elite the church will realize it is not their dignity the government are protecting it is the elite’s very own ass!

    • In reply to #9 by Jon Snow:

      Hi Jon,

      The church is being sucked in by a political elite with a partisan view of people’s rights it is being used …

      I wish that were true. The Russian Orthodox Church has been working hard to return to the status quo under the Russian Monarchy – an integral part of the State.

      … the church should consider very carefully that getting in bed with the devil is called selling out to greed and ego and it usually ends in bitter tears.

      I don’t believe the Russian Orthodox church considers supernatural beings much in its political machinations. But you are right up to a point; there is no evidence that they have learned from the revolution – they are blinded by their own ambitions.

      They might well become the laughing stock in the religious world globally, a church fronting for a government that willingly oppresses its own people by their tacit support …

      This must be some kind of joke? Organised religions across the globe are looking at the Russian Orthodox Church with envy and avarice.

      … the ridiculous jail time those Pussycat riot gals got should remind the church …

      Of the new power they have gained, of the power of mere influence, of their ability to wield power without an electoral remit, of the oligarchy’s need for them, as confirmation that they understand how to weight the levers of power … ?

      … when the purpose is to shore up a totalitarian elite …

      What’s with the ‘when’? This is now, this is reality – here is the evidence that impatience with criticism and democracy is creeping across Russia’s political class and is increasingly authoritarian. To me it seems crystal clear; the next step beyond being authoritarian is to be dictatorial.

      Can Russia’s political class resist this tide? The Russian Orthodox Church has it’s shoulder to the wheel and is puckering up between the President’s cheeks.

      After the rise of Salafism and Wahhabism, the inability of Russia’s politicians to embrace democracy is the major geopolitical concern.

      … the church will realize it is not their dignity the government are protecting it is the elite’s very own ass!

      They know.

      Peace.

  6. Blasphemy laws are an excellent way of overpowering the populace. Anyone who dissents or who tries to exercise their human rights will be put on a trumped up charge of blasphemy and put away without any proof or evidence. Very convenient for the dictatorship and very good for the pious who can assert bulling authority where none is deserved. It’s called symbiosis – or is it parasitism? I’m surprised that it took the ruthless Putin and the shameless clerics so long to get together. The church is nothing less than an evil state machine of repression.

  7. I don’t know, but I suspect there were a few blasphemous remarks made by all those rich Russians who were naive enough to have left their, untaxed in Russia, savings in the Cyprus banks ! The same bloody God too !

    Allah might provide, but Jesus saves !

  8. Some human rights activists warned that “insults to believers” might include the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution or the Big Bang theory about the universe.

    Lysenko, all over again?

    If Russia was ever atheist, it was a state imposed atheism. Best way to consolidate religiosity. Forbid something and everybody wants it.

  9. What, you mean I can’t freely express my disgust with a psychopathic, narcissistic piece of celestial scum that seems intent on hurting every human being that doesn’t bow down to kiss it’s feet and it’s hypocritical, dull witted, decadent representatives on earth?

    I’d better save some roubles before I enter that country again I guess.

  10. I acknowledge the fact that people don’t like seeing people criticize their religious views, just as I acknowledge that people with phobias will not like being exposed to the source of fear. The sentiments behind blasphemy are those of taboo and moralistic disgust and contempt, which in another context could be deployed for genuine ethical purposes. Likewise, fear is an expectation of bad things happening and a desire to avoid them, and I can at least understand how powerful an effect it has on the mind and how it can be legitimate in some cases.

    Where I draw the line is in their imposition that others play along too. If hearing religious criticism offends you, or if you’re deathly frightened of heights, then if it’s all in your head and doesn’t otherwise correspond to anything real, it’s your problem. For blasphemy, find some media outlet where your views aren’t challenged, or try talking it out with someone so that you can deal with it better. There is no soul that is tarnished when you hear blasphemy and there is no evidence that blasphemers really are evil people, and the notion that something heinous actually has happened when all you’ve got to go on are someone else’s words and your own feelings is suspect. For phobias, get therapy or just avoid the thing if it upsets you so much. The fact that you are frightened of heights does not mean there is actually anything to be afraid of when you look out a skyscraper window to the road below.

  11. ” The text refers to offences against religions that are “an integral part of Russia’s historical inheritance” – implying that it covers Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism “

    So how does that work? Surely to claim you believe in Christianity is to say that Islam is a load of b*llocks. So isnt that blasphemy?

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  13. I can never help but laugh at such childish behavior. Science and rational thought poses such a threat to religion, theists see no other option than a teary eyed desperation whine to authority. They act as if they are a child in kindergarten ratting out another child for telling them their imaginary friend is not real but a delusion. To make it even more pathetic it’s accepted by the government. I guess the portrayal of rational thought hasn’t made it to these theistic Russians. Any person who thinks in such a senseless manner should

    I believe I seen this similar idea in a separate post. There is no such law/fine stating theists may not ridicule or be blasphemous toward anti-theists. This is a very slanted and petty law. If it does pass, there is no question that this in indeed a serious issue.

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