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Modern Russia Is In Search Of A Secular Model Of Relationships Between Religions And The State

962 words - 4 pages

Article 14, Section 1 establishes the basic principles of the modern Russian statehood, especially concerning religious associations. Article 14, Section 1 provides that “the Russian Federation shall be a secular state. No religion may be instituted as state-sponsored or mandatory religion”. Article 14, Section 2 provides that “religious associations shall be separated from the state, and shall be equal before the law”. These two provisions are crucial for such a multi-religious state as Russia and for Russian religious associations because they fix the legal framework for relationships between religions and the state.
Article 17, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that “the exercise of ...view middle of the document...

Drafting and adoption of the laws, regulating religious practices, involve challenges because such laws are extremely significant from the political and social viewpoints. The law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations” (1997) was adopted in difficult circumstances. It is the main law that regulates religious problems in modern Russia. Since 1997 the law was amended several times but these amendments did not involve the major principles of secularism as well as freedoms of conscience and religion. The law affirms that the Russian Federation is a secular state, and religious associations are separated from the state, following the constitutional provisions. Firstly, the state “does not interfere in the citizen's decision regarding religion and religious affiliation, or in the education of children by parents or guardians, in keeping with their convictions and with regard to the right of the child to freedom of conscience and freedom of religious profession”. Secondly, the state “does not require religious associations to perform the functions of agencies of state power, other state agencies, state institutions, and agencies of local administration”. Thirdly, the state does not interfere in the activity of religious associations, when it does not violate the federal law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations”. Fourthly, the state guarantees the secular character of education in state and municipal educational institutions. Thus, from the legal viewpoint the modern Russian state is considered secular.
The majority of European countries established their secularism and different models of relationships between the state and religions due to some social changes. While the countries in Western Europe were moving from religiosity to secularism, Russia was developing in another way. Modern Russia appeared as a result of the dissolution of the atheistic Soviet Union. Religiosity was alien in the Soviet Union and existed only in people’s souls. The project of the working Constitution (1993) was extremely liberal. Then the citizens themselves proposed to dive...

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