Future of Russian Religious Law Remains in Question
Keston News Service (KNS) reported on September 4 that President Boris Yeltsin has signed a compromise version of the religious freedom bill which he vetoed in July. KNS, an English news service that reports on Russian religious issues, says that the compromise version does not contain any substantial changes from the original bill. That bill was opposed by many religious groups inside and outside of Russia because it would have reserved certain legal rights for Russia's oldest religious faiths: Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Russian Orthodoxy. "The utterly unacceptable, core concept of the July bill – its invidious distinction between first-class 'religious organizations' and second-class 'religious groups' – remains fully intact" in the compromise bill, comments KNS correspondent Lawrence A. Uzzell.
KNS's report has not yet been confirmed by other news services. The Russian parliament could still choose to override President Yeltsin's veto on the original bill, since the July bill was passed by an overwhelming majority.
©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson