An article in the Daily Caller, “Russia is Waging War on Religious Minorities and Hindus are Their Next Target,” calls attention to FECRIS and especially Alexander Dvorkin as the force driving this repression forward:
“The Russian government is waging a campaign to systematically remove all non-Russian Orthodox religions from the country one by one, and they’ve targeted Hinduism next.
“The same cooperative between the Russian Orthodox Church, the French government-funded organization known as the European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism (FECRIS), and the Russian government that successfully outlawed the religion of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and drove their institutions from Russia has now set its sights on Shri Prakash Ji, the most prominent Hindu leader in Russia, for exactly the same purpose.
“The Expert Council of Russia’s Justice Ministry, led by Alexander Dvorkin, who is also the leader of the Russian branch of FECRIS, has yet to levy any legal accusations against Prakash, but authorities harassed him [Prakash] with defamatory television ads, misinformation campaigns, and unsanctioned police raids among other tactics likely meant to goad Prakash and his followers into making rash decisions that would leave them open to prosecution under Russia’s anti-extremism laws.”
The article provides a timeline of Dvorkin’s escalating harassment of the Hindu guru.
It also quotes Daniel Mark, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, who considers Dvorkin a person of concern regarding threats to religious freedom in Russia:
“Religious freedom in Russia is in a dire state, and we’re concerned about the status of all religious minorities there,” Mark said. “Alexander Dvorkin is one of a large network of Russian Orthodox activists who have grown considerably in influence over the last 10 years due to the Russian government’s increasing patronage of the Russian Orthodox Church and the government’s Soviet-style concerns about the subversive potential of independent religious groups.”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom also warned of Dvorkin in a 2009 annual report, predicting he could lead the Justice Ministry’s Expert Council to seek the closure of both registered and non-registered non-orthodox religions in Russia.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.