Scientology in Russia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Scientology has been subjected to considerable pressure from the state in Russia.[1]

Church of Scientology Moscow v. Russia[edit]

In April 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia for repeatedly refusing to consider the Moscow Church of Scientology's application for the status of a legally valid religious association. The court found that the reasons given to deny re-registration of the church by the justice department and endorsed by the Moscow courts had no legal basis.[2][3]

Other events[edit]

In July 2007, the St. Petersburg City Court ordered that the city's Scientology center be closed for violating its charter by engaging in unlicensed health care services.[4] A court in Samara came to a similar decision in November 2008, closing down the activities of the local center for practicing without a license.[5]

In September 2009, the European Court of Human Rights issued a binding ruling in favor of two Scientology branches in Surgut and Nizhnekamsk, which had been denied registration as "religious organizations."[6] The two organizations were awarded 20,000 € in costs and damages.[6] The ruling, which cannot be appealed, said that Russia could not ban the Church of Scientology simply because it did not have a long history in the country.[6]

In December 2009, the court closed the Dianetics Center in Naberezhnye Chelny.[7]

In November 2015, the activities of the Church of Scientology Moscow were banned by the Moscow city court, an action which was supported by the Supreme Court in June 2016. Two reasons stand for this lengthened struggle between the Church of Scientology and the Russian ministry of justice, first is that the Russian Orthodox Church views CoS as a “destructive organization.” The ROC is split between two contradicting opinions, first that “Scientology is a dangerous heretical sect,” and the others say it is not a religion and is “purely commercial.” One reason for this position is that the Church of Scientology’s name is a United States Trademark and therefore cannot be religious. [8]

PierLuigi Zoccatelli argues that the Trademark argument is indicative of the difference between the American and Russian understanding of religion. Even religious bodies need trademarks, because should there be “schism” within the church, the government must be able to identify who can use the original name. Also, he writes that hundreds of trademarks are owned in the US by religious groups. [9]

Also, this position is not accepted by “practically all Russian experts in the field of religious studies,” scholar Boris Falikov writes. Some arguments behind this acceptance is that “the world scientific community recognizes the religious status of Scientology.” Falikov argues that “the rebirth of religion goes side by side with the process of secularization.” Based on this notion, “the border between secular and religious is not rigid anymore,” he writes. He notes that Scientology is “one of the best examples of such New Religious Movements.”

In June 2017, leaders of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg were arrested, charged with “participation in an ‘extremist’ community, incitement of hatred, and illegal business activities.” According to Falikov, the accusations have no real basis. As for the accusations of illegal business activities, the Church of Scientology is made up of two branches, one a religious community “with no right to carry on a commercial activity, and the other a commercial branch, which sells books.” Falikov writes. He calls the accusations an “instrument of suppression.” He also mentioned that those arrested won a case against the European Court when their church branch was banned.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]