06MOSCOW11024, INITIAL REACTION TO 2006 IRF REPORT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW11024 2006-09-29 14:00 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO4873
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1024 2721400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291400Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3268
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MOSCOW 011024 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM RS
SUBJECT: INITIAL REACTION TO 2006 IRF REPORT 
 
 
1. (U) Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Mikhail Kaminin 
told reporters that the 2006 International Religious Freedom 
Report amounted to a repetition of groundless claims that 
there are restrictions on religious freedom in Russia.  He 
said that U.S. officials had repeatedly ignored GOR 
explanations to the point that the GOR considered further 
explanations superfluous.  Kaminin alleged that the report 
was politically motivated. 
 
2. (U) Noting some improvements in this year's edition, the 
Moscow Patriarchate remarked that the report still lacked 
objectivity.  In an Interfax interview on September 25, 
Deputy Head of the Department of External Church Relations of 
the Moscow Patriarchate Vsevolod Chaplin remarked that "in 
comparison to previous years, the report of the State 
Department was more accurate in terms of facts and 
assessments."  He also noted that it was a pleasant surprise 
that the report finally mentioned some anti-Orthodox acts of 
vandalism, but that the number of those incidents was 
insignificant in comparison to the description of acts 
directed against religions that have large and influential 
constituencies in the U.S., such as Catholic, Jewish, 
Protestant, and "new religious movements."  He added that 
while the report addressed the property restitution problems 
of the Russian Orthodox Church, they were disproportionate to 
the restitution problems of other religious communities.  He 
even admitted that the report was correct in noting the need 
for improvements in conditions for Muslims' prayer activities 
and access to religious advisors in the army. 
 
3. (U) Chaplin argued that Russia is only asserting what is 
the norm in Europe: "a society's selective attitude towards 
religious communities."  He said that in most European 
countries both state and society have always understood that 
some religious organizations have grounds for special 
support, while others "could be considered destructive and 
dangerous, based on their activities and ideology."  Chaplin 
also maintained that local populations have the right to 
decide which religious buildings could be built in their 
districts and to whom local authorities can grant community 
space for religious meetings, as well as the right of 
citizens to a religious education and the right to protest 
against the activities of certain religious groups they 
considered sects. 
 
4. (SBU) COMMENT. The tone of the MFA's response to the 2006 
report does not differ markedly from its response last year. 
We are still waiting for the translation of the report into 
Russian to be finished.  We will then review it with 
additional interlocutors in the GOR and human rights and 
religious communities. 
BURNS

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