28 October 2009, 14:01
Orthodox experts to work out reports on freedom of conscience in Russia and former USSR
Moscow, October 28, Interfax – The Association of Orthodox Experts plans to prepare annual expert reports on freedom of conscience in Russia and in the post-Soviet space.
“We won’t give up the theme of freedom of conscience in the post-Soviet space to the USA State Department and Western NGOs,” the Association head Kirill Frolov told Interfax-Religion on Wednesday.
According to him, each year such Western reports “ignore the topic of serious problems with freedom of conscience in Ukraine.” “Several Orthodox churches were seized there only during this year, clerics and believers were beaten during such seizure in the village of Zhuklya in the Chernigov Region,” the interviewee of the agency said.
“High-ranking Ukrainian officials stated it was necessary to set up “a local Ukrainian Church” by way of uniting with schismatic groups or some local Churches invading canonical territory of others, while this is nothing else but interference in Church matters,” Frolov said.
He pointed out that his Association did not oppose their expert report to other documents on the topic, but noted that “position of Orthodox expert community should be voiced.”
“It’s an objective necessity and we’re ready to discuss these questions with other expert groups,” Frolov said.
He believes that next stage after organizing this Association needed to develop and structure Orthodox expert community should become setting up of an Orthodox analogue of the RAND Corporation or the so-called “fabrics of thought,” “that seriously influence on intellectual climate in their societies.”
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