In April and may of this year, Nizhny Novgorod twice been the center of attention of specialists in the field of religion, social activists, politicians, human rights activists and Russian citizens with active civic position.
At the end of April it became known that Sormovski district court of Nizhny Novgorod has decided to expel from Russia the citizen of Zimbabwe Kudzai Remarable enrolled in the sixth course of the Volga research medical University. She was accused of conducting illegal missionary activities. Two weeks later in mass media there was information that the fifth-year student at Nizhny Novgorod state medical Academy Nosis a lady from the Kingdom of Eswatini (ex Swaziland) was also accused of illegal missionary activity.
Both girls are the Nizhny Novgorod congregation of the Protestant Church “Jesus Embassy”. In both cases, students awarded the payment of fines and deportation outside the Russian Federation after 30 June of the current year. The correspondent of GOD.NEWS tried to figure out how legitimate acts against foreign women and then expect foreign students studying in Russian universities.
Not catch those
According to the theologian Rais Suleimanov, the precedents in Nizhny Novgorod show the effect of the “Spring law” in practice. However, he adds that he does not know cases when employees of special services managed to stop the activities of these extremists: “While we see that under the “law of Spring” were the hare Krishnas, neopachygaster or charismatics, which are officially allowed in Russia for religious associations”.
According to the head of the legal Department of the Russian United Union of Christians of Evangelical faith (Pentecostals) Volodymyr Ozolina, the position of the prosecution contradicts both the Russian legislation and norms of international law. “The purpose of the visit are met – both students learn, and soon will take the state exams, will receive diplomas. To worship them allows the Constitution of Russia, and freely, both personally and together,” said Ozolin God news.
Students are afraid
“Jesus Embassy” is one of the largest churches not only in Nizhny Novgorod but also in Russia. It is visited about 1 million people. According to the lawyer of the Church of Vladimir Malinin, today, of the 150 Africans who attended earlier meetings of the Church, there are only 20. Others are afraid they’re deported and they will not be able to graduate.
Problem concerned and rashwe national Bishop Sergey Ryakhovsky. At the second meeting of the Board Roshi held on 31 may this year in Moscow, he expressed his concerns regarding the image of Russia on the world stage: “Expelled students upon arrival home will not tell about how wonderful Russian education and about how unfairly they were treated, and how initially negative power in relation to foreign students.”
At the same time Rais Suleimanov claims that the expulsion of the African students will not affect the status of Russia in the world. The example he gave of the Soviet Union where the state maintained a policy of atheism. Despite this, according to him, in Soviet universities studied young people from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“To believe that the action of the “Spring law”, which prohibits foreign students to missionary activity, such as the impact on the global position of Russia in a negative way, naive. It does not affect the inflow of those wishing to study in Russia foreigners are not reduced,” — said Suleymanov.
Ozolin adds that in recent years it became increasingly difficult to defend their rights to freedom of religion. According to him, judges working in courts of first instance are not always familiar with the laws in the area of freedom of conscience: “Therefore, participating in litigation, much time should be spent, so that those involved understand the specifics”.
How to tell the God news Malinin, representatives of the “Embassy of Jesus” are going to protect their parishioners from other countries. “Now we will wait for the end of their training and then will be filing complaints on both students. We don’t do that now, because I want to ensure they are safely prepared for the exams,” — said the lawyer.
Ozolin said that court decisions are appealed to the higher courts: “We are ready to move on up to the European court of human rights, because the decision is illegal and should be abolished”.
Alexey Kovalyonok especially for GOD.NEWS