State Duma to exclude Orthodox Church from foreign agent roster
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MOSCOW, JULY 10 - RAPSI. State Duma deputies proposed to withdraw religious nonprofit organizations from United Russia's initiative on the status of noncommercial organizations, Alexander Sidyakin, one of the law's co-sponsors, told Izvestia newspaper.
A nonprofit organization financed from abroad and involved in political activity in Russia is to be classed as a foreign agent.
According to this definition, even the Russian Orthodox Church is a foreign agent: it receives donations from abroad and is involved in political activity in Russia.
Representatives of the church have submitted their amendments for the second reading which is expected to be combined with the third reading on July 13.
"We propose that there should be some provisions stating that religious organizations are not subject to this status, so as to prevent the church from being accused of using its influence in politics," archpriest Georgy Roshchin said. He did not specify the provisions.
According to the head of the State Duma Committee on NGOs Yaroslav Nilov, the amendments to the second reading will be discussed on July 10, but they have yet to be finalized.