Thursday, September 27, 2012

Russia: Putin pushes for anti-blasphemy law

Patriarch Kirill with Vladimir PutinPutin is toughening his legislative clampdown on blasphemy and offensive acts against religion. This looks like a reaction to the Pussy Riot case and a response against the appeal made by Dmitry Medvedev for greater leniency for the three female members of the band, sentenced to two years in prison. Article 243, 1 on “insulting religions and people’s religious sentiment” will soon appear in the Russian Criminal Code.
This is according to Russian language business daily, Vedomosti. Its sources say the bill should be passed on to the State Duma soon and will be backed by the four parties in the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament.
The first section of the new article to be added to the Russian Criminal Code, prescribes sanctions for public insults made to religious faiths, in places of worship and during rites and ceremonies. The punishment for such crimes will be a 300 thousand rouble fine (10 thousand dollars), 200 hours of hard labour or up to three years confinement.
The measure brings to mind images of the four Orthodox crosses sawed down in two different locations in Russia, sparked by the Pussy Riot case. 
Another item on the agenda, is the burial of the controversial and mysterious Grigorij Rasputin, the crazy monk in the Romanov court who was renowned for his alleged corruption, hypnotic powers and his propensity for intrigue.

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