Friday 11 February



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, 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.