I. COSSACKS USE WHIPS AGAINST PROTESTANTS. A Cossack manifesto

in Anapa kraii proclaims that the Cossacks 'are beginning a

decisive struggle against these newly arrived preachers of schism

and sectarianism, up to and including their forced expulsion from

the krai'.

II. SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS REGISTERED IN RUSSIA. With

registration in hand, Adventists may have legal leverage for

distributing Bibles in Anapa.

III. UZBEKISTAN'S COUNTDOWN TO 15 AUGUST: A CHRONOLOGY. From

raids on believers' homes, to closed churches, the hope for

religious liberty is dim.

IV. INDEPENDENT GEORGIAN EVANGELICALS WORK TOGETHER. Pastors pray

together and discuss evangelism projects for their country.





Tuesday 15 September

COSSACKS USE WHIPS AGAINST PROTESTANTS



By Roman Lunkin, Keston News Service



Cossacks in the resort town of Anapa in Krasnodar krai, about 700

miles south of Moscow, have detained and whipped a local Russian

Adventist who had been giving away Bibles in a public park.

Local Orthodox clergy, while not fully endorsing this practice,

have made little serious effort to discourage it.



On 23 July two uniformed Cossacks interrupted a group of

Adventists led by YURI SALOV as they were distributing Bibles in

Anapa's central park. The two insisted that Salov go off with

them in a car to the ataman of the Kuban Cossacks for the Anapa

district. According to the Adventists, the ataman ANATOLI

FYODOROV told Salov that Adventism was a 'bourgeois faith',

accused him of 'betraying the Orthodox faith', and ordered him

to lie down on a sofa. The ataman and a henchman then gave the

young evangelist 20 lashes with an iron-tipped whip before

releasing him. Cossacks refused to return 60 Bibles which they

had confiscated from Salov and his companions.



Anapa's Adventist pastor VALERI KHANENSON told Keston News

Service in a telephone interview that relations between the local

Cossacks and Protestants were 'quite tense' - though, in his

opinion, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Hare Krishnaites felt freer.



The pastor said he had requested a meeting with ataman Fyodorov

after the whipping incident, but that Fyodorov had refused.

Instead the ataman's deputy YURI KONDRATOV had given the

Adventists a copy of the Cossacks' manifesto against

'sectarians'.



This document, warning that 'pseudo-religious preachers' are

trying to persuade residents and vacationers in the resort to

follow 'false doctrines', proclaims that the Cossacks 'are

beginning a decisive struggle against these newly arrived

preachers of schism and sectarianism, up to and including their

forced expulsion from the krai'.



The manifesto claims that the Cossacks' campaign has the support

of the krai's 'traditional confessions'; in response to the

Adventist pastor's question, the ataman's deputy said that these

were the confessions which were represented in the city

government's council on religion: the Moscow Patriarchate, the

Armenian church, the Roman Catholics and the Baptists. Pastor

Khanenson told Keston that he had never before heard that such

a local council even existed.



Khanenson requested a meeting with the spiritual father

('dukhovnik') of the local Cossacks, Orthodox priest ALEKSANDR.

According to the Adventist pastor, Fr Aleksandr denied that he

approved of the whipping of Salov, and agreed to request the

Cossacks to return the 60 Bibles; but the Cossacks continued to

refuse.



Keston rang the Anapa Cossacks' office to request clarification.

SERGEI SEREBROV, a Cossack commander, responded that if

Protestants engaged in public 'proselytism,' then the Cossacks

would whip them. He said that by 'pseudo-religious' preachers

they meant 'all who are against the Orthodox'.



Keston then contacted the local Cossacks' 'dukhovnik', Fr

Aleksandr. The priest, who refused to give his last name, said

that Russia's 1997 law on religion did not go far enough to

protect the country because it still 'allows sectarians to

exist'. Asked for his own views on the Cossacks' actions, he

replied that 'these are Cossack methods, I cannot stop them'.



The 'dukhovnik' for all the Kuban Cossacks, FR SERGI OVCHINNIKOV,

gave Keston simi;ar answers. He said that 'it is not good that

they punished someone in that way, but the Cossacks have their

own local traditions'.



ANDREI MUKHORTOV, Anapa's plenipotentiary for relations with

religious organisations, told Keston that he did not approve of

the Cossacks' whipping of Salov, but that he thought the

Adventists also behaved improperly since they were not formally

registered as a congregation in the city, in his view they had

no right to distribute Bibles in the city park.



The Adventists have filed charges with the city police - who are

generally considered to have bad relations with the Cossacks -

demanding the return of their stolen Bibles. (END)



Tuesday 15 September

SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS REGISTERED IN RUSSIA



The Adventist Press Service in Basel, Switzerland reports that

the Seventh-Day Adventist Church has been successful in securing

registration for their organisation in the Russian Federation.

According to VIKTOR KRUSHENITSKY, religious liberty director for

the Russian Adventist Church, this registration is for the

Adventist Church organisation covering the whole of Russia; now

individual entities of the church must reregister. 'Even though

the deadline for reregistration is the end of 1999, local

churches cannot legally be involved in certain activities until

they are registered or reregistered. The higher organisation must

gain approval before the lower organisation can apply,'

Krushenitsky added.



So it appears that as local Adventist churches reregister, even

according to the strict interpretation of the law they should be

able to distribute Bibles as they tried to do in Anapa, Krasnodar

krai. Article 17, Point 1 of the 1997 Law on Freedom of

Conscience and Religious Associations states:



'Religious organisations have the right to produce,

acquire, export, import and distribute religious

literature, printed, audio and video material and other

articles of religious significance.' (END)





Tuesday 15 September

UZBEKISTAN'S COUNTDOWN TO 15 AUGUST: A CHRONOLOGY



by Felix Corley, Keston News Service



On 15 August the period for registered religious organisations

in Uzbekistan to apply for reregistration with the Ministry of

Justice expired. Many believers in the country believe measures

against them will be taken soon after, under the provisions of

the harsh 1 May law on freedom of conscience and religious

organisations. Here we present a chronology of recent events as

the deadline approached.



Those with further information are requested to report it to

keston.institute@keston.org or fcorley@ndirect.co.uk





1 May 1998 - President ISLAM KARIMOV address parliament, the Oliy

Majlis, calls for harsh measures against Islamic fundamentalists,

threatens to shoot them personally. Parliament passes new version

of the law on freedom of conscience and religious organisations,

amending previous 1991 version. New law bans unregistered

religious activity, proselytism and missionary activity.

Parliament passes amendments to criminal code and civil code,

with punishments of up to five years' imprisonment for religious

offences that do not involve violence.



13 May 1998 - Police raid homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in

Shakhrisabz and question several people.



Mid-May 1998 - Presidential council officials visit Zaraulbazar

labour camp and close prison mosque and Evangelical

Christian/Baptist church.



15 May 1998 - Text of new law on freedom of conscience published

in the Tashkent Russian-language paper 'Narodnoye Slovo'. The new

law comes into force on publication.



19 May 1998 - Text of amendments to civil code and criminal code

published in 'Narodnoye Slovo'. The new codes come into force on

publication.



19 May 1998 - Text of new law published in the Tashkent Uzbek-

language paper 'Khalk Suzi'.



26 May 1998 - Text of new law published in the Tashkent

Russian-language paper 'Pravda Vostoka'.



28 May 1998 - Evangelical Christians/Baptists begin two-day

meeting in Tashkent to discuss new law and issue appeal to

President Karimov that the legislation turns law-abiding Baptists

into criminals.



11 June 1998 - Adventist ministers meet in Tashkent to discuss

the law and prepare appeal to President Karimov to reduce the

minimum members needed for a congregation to register from 100

to 10, to enable groups with two or three registered

congregations to form central administrations rather than

congregations in eight of the country's fourteen regions and to

lift the ban on missionary activity.



16 June 1998 - Adventists issue appeal to President Karimov

prepared at 11 June meeting. There is no reply to the appeal.



16 June 1998 - Priests and ministers of five denominations

(Catholic, Evangelical-Lutheran, Evangelical Christian/Baptist,

Adventist and Full Gospel Christian) meet in Tashkent to discuss

the law. Issue appeal to President Karimov expressing 'concern'

about new law and asking for removal of the requirement to have

100 members for a congregation to register and removal of the ban

on missionary activity. There is no reply to the appeal.



16 June 1998 - Three Jehovah's Witnesses whose homes were raided

on 11 May fined in Shakhrisabz.



20 June 1998 - Council of Ministers (in Decree No. 263 addressed

to the Ministry of Justice and signed by the prime minister OTKIR

SULTONOV) issues detailed registration regulations specifying

documents and fees necessary for registration applications.

Decree requires all registered communities to lodge

reregistration applications by 15 August.



24 June 1998 - Deputy Minister of Justice P.A. SAMATOV writes to

registered communities instructing them to apply for

reregistration and to present the required documentation by 15

August.



25 June 1998 - The procuracy of a district of Samarkand bans a

Jehovah's Witness community, declaring that it is unregistered

and would not qualify for registration under the new law as it

has fewer than 100 members.



Early August 1998 - Adventist communities in Navoi and Samarkand

warned by local government officials that they will have problems

after 15 August.



1 August 1998 - Unknown assailants attack two Russian

journalists, VITALI PONOMAREV and NIKOLAI MITROKHIN, on the

streets of Tashkent. The two had just returned from investigating

religious repression in the Fergana valley.



4 August 1998 - The deputy head of the religious affairs

committee, SHAAMIL MINOVAROV, who coordinates Christian matters,

tells several Christian leaders verbally that the requirement of

100 adult members for a congregation to be eligible to seek

registration is to be lifted and the deadline extended from 15

August until the end of the year. There is no confirmation of

this statement, which is not published.



15 August 1998 - Deadline for reregistration applications to be

lodged. (END)





Tuesday 15 September

INDEPENDENT GEORGIAN EVANGELICALS WORK TOGETHER



On 21 June pastors of independent Evangelical Protestant churches

gathered from 'all corners of Georgia' to pray for the people of

their country. STEVE REUTERS of the Russian Association of

Independent Christian Churches told Keston that these churches

had never before worked together but that some pastors had

travelled 300 kilometres (180 miles) for the first of what they

hoped would be monthly meetings in Gori. Gori, the birthplace of

JOSEPH STALIN, is more appropriately also the home of GAICC (the

Georgian Association of Independent Christian Churches).



These churches have already established a plan to plant similar

churches where there are none at the moment and hope to open a

Bible institute to prepare leaders for evangelism. One book on

leadership development has been translated into Georgian. (END)