The law has cracked down again on illegal missionary activities in Russia.
The Uritsky district court in Oryol Oblast (about 400 kilometres
south-west of Moscow) fined three Evangelical Baptists for violating
the Yarovaya law on missionary activity.
According to Orlovskie Novosti, the defendants were
convicted under article 5.26 of the Code of Administrative Violations of
the Law (Violation of legislation on freedom of conscience and freedom
of religious confession and religious associations) and fined 5,000
rubles (US$ 86).
The court found the Baptists guilty of illegally engaging in the
distribution of religious literature and inviting people to their
religious meetings without prior notification to the Russian Ministry of
Justice about the start of their activity, as required by the law.
The law is named after Irina Yarovaya, deputy speaker of the State
Duma (lower house of parliament). Together with Senator Viktor Ozerov,
she proposed a package of "anti-terrorism" rules that was adopted in
July 2016, which deals with, among other things, missionary activities.
Article 05.26, paragraph 4, of the Code of Administrative Violations
of the law imposes administrative sanctions with fines ranging from
5,000 to 50,000 rubles for individuals, and 100,000 to 1,000,000 for
The first decision based on the Yarovaya Law came on 30 September
2016 when a court in Oryol sentenced Donald Ossewaard, a Baptist
missionary from the United States, to a fine of 40,000 rubles.
The American challenged the fine in the Russian Supreme Court but
failed, so he announced that he would leave Russia after 14 years of
residence in the country.