Friday 11 February
PROTESTANT PASTOR DENIES REPORTS OF HIS FLOCK BEING
TORTURED IN MAGADAN
by Roman Lunkin, Keston News Service
According to some reports circulating on the Internet, police have used physical
torture against a charismatic Protestant congregation in Magadan in Russia's Far East
headed by pastor NIKOLAI VOSKOBOINIKOV. In a telephone interview with
Keston News Service, pastor Voskoboinikov said that the local authorities have
placed his flock under pyschological pressure, including visits of local police to the
church and threats to sack believers from their jobs. But the pastor said that the police
and other officials who are trying to suppress the congregation have not in fact gone
so far as to practise physical torture. (END)
11th February 1999 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KESTON INSTITUTE�s FOUNDER AWARDED LITHUANIA�s HIGHEST
Keston Institute�s founder, Revd Canon Dr Michael Bourdeaux, has been awarded the
highest honour that Lithuania can give to a living non-citizen, the Order of Grand
Duke Gediminas. The Order was established to "honour persons for their contribution
to Lithuania, for outstanding earnest and honest civil or public service". It honours
Canon Bourdeaux and Keston Institute for its work monitoring religious persecution
during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, documented in his 1979 book �Land of
Crosses�, and Keston�s continuing work monitoring religious freedom in
postcommunist and communist countries.
The Order of Grand Duke Gediminas will be conferred on Canon Bourdeaux at a
ceremony in the Presidential Palace in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius, by President
Valdas Adamkus on Tuesday 16th February.
Taking its name from the former primary school in Keston, Kent, where it was
originally housed, the Institute now occupies premises in Park Town, Oxford. There it
continues its work of over thirty years, monitoring religious freedom in
postcommunist and communist countries. As well as state officials, oppressors today
include religious establishments, especially in Russia, that seek to stifle dissent.
Keston is recognised as a source of well-researched information by the media in
Britain, the United States and beyond, which regularly disseminate its reports. In
addition, Keston publishes a quarterly academic journal Religion, State and Society
and a bimonthly magazine Frontier, and distributes via e-mail the Keston News
Service, compiled by its own editorial office in Moscow.
The Institute is a registered charity that relies on voluntary financial support to
maintain and expand its information services, to act as a resource centre for visitors
worldwide, and to bring to Oxford for short study visits mature students from Eastern
Europe who are engaged in theological and pastoral work.