KESTON NEWS SERVICE
Issue 10, Articles 20-21, 18 October 2000

Immediate reporting on violations of religious liberty and on religion in
communist and post-communist lands.
______________________________________

SUMMARIES:
RUSSIA: PENTECOSTAL MISSIONARIES EXPELLED FROM
CHUKOTKA
Recently both foreigners and Russian citizens have been expelled from
Chukotka. The authorities ignore requests which local churches must file in
order to gain permission to invite outsiders to the area, other authorities give
verbal permission for the visitors to enter without the permit, and then the latter
are fined and or expelled for breaking the rules. In September Pentecostals
were told by officials at the immigration department, `The governor ordered
that your applications should be delayed'.

RUSSIA: WHY ARE PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES SO SUCCESSFUL
IN FAR EAST? Poverty, local corruption �and the injection of significant
financial resources by the USA in the pursuit of its foreign policy aims in the
Russian Far East have all created fertile conditions for the activity of foreign
missionaries in the region. The weakness of local Orthodox structures�,
makes it easier for foreign missionaries to pursue their aims' according to
researchers at the Russian Academy of Science; local officials appear to agree.
This summer Orthodox missionaries arrived by helicopter to some villages but
were told `you are late in coming - you have come in your helicopters, the
Pentecostal missionaries arrived on foot.'

Wednesday 18 October 2000
RUSSIA: PENTECOSTAL MISSIONARIES EXPELLED FROM
CHUKOTKA

by Tatyana Titova, Keston News Service

Protestant missionaries are no longer needed in the Chukotka Autonomous
Okrug according to the local administration, apparently because Orthodox
missionaries have arrived in the area recently (see separate KNS article). Since
the law `on the State Borders of the Russian Federation' applies to this region it
is not difficult to restrict the entry of `unwelcome' guests, whether foreigners or
Russian citizens.

On 13 October SERGEI KULENICH, head of the Chukotka Renewal Christian
Centre (belonging to the Russian Union of Pentecostals led by VLADIMIR
MURZA) told Keston that for a long time for every entry permit granted to a
missionary, there have been at least ten refusals.

Most recently, on 22 September the governor of Chukotka ALEKSANDR
NAZAROV issued orders for the immediate expulsion of a group of
missionaries who were in Chukotka at the invitation of the Chukotka Renewal
Christian Centre: these comprised American citizens (JAMES ARTHUR HILL
and GEORGE MARRIOT); individuals holding no citizenship (PAVEL
RADCHUK, STANISLAV KANIFOLSKY and YELENA
PODNEBESNAYA); and Russian citizens (VADIM NATEKIN and LEONID
KAPARCHUK).

Radchuk, from the Slavic International Association of Missionaries, told
Keston on 27 September that the governor�s order (No. 121) stated that an
organisation wishing to invite a foreign citizen must submit an `application to
invite a foreign citizen' to the immigration department of the Chukotka
Autonomous Okrug two months in advance. Once such an application has been
received, the department may take another month to agree the visit with the
Federal Security Service (the former KGB), the border guards and the local
administration or village before giving a response.

The application to invite Radchuk and his colleagues had been made within
this time scale: however when the group arrived in Magadan, entry permits
were not forthcoming. Not until 13 October - two weeks after the group�s
expulsion - did Kulenich receive a letter stating the reason for the delay in
processing the application: the authorities had been �studying the regional
situation�. Indeed, when Keston spoke to Kulenich on 2 October, he had
received only the expulsion order. `All of our applications, including some
made in July, are sitting on the governor's desk, and I was told by officials that
they were "working on them". No-one will see me - all I have been getting is
direct refusals.' As a result, a planned seminar for Sunday school teachers and
summer camp youth leaders had to be cancelled.

According to Radchuk, their experience is not unique. Last April a group of
five missionaries spent a month waiting in Magadan for their entry permits to
Chukotka, which were issued two days before their scheduled departure from
the region.

Moreover, the Renewal Centre has been refused permission to rent premises for
its activities several times, and has been denied permission to advertise its
events on television.

The missionaries decided to enter Chukotka without the necessary permits
because they had been given verbal assurances by the regional administration
that permits would be issued. According to Radchuk, for whom this is the
eighteenth visit to Chukotka since 1992, the authorities were always late in
issuing entry permits. When they arrived in Chukotka on 15 September, the
missionaries were detained by border police, who arrested them and imposed
an administrative fine equivalent to two months' average earnings. However the
missionaries were granted permission to stay until 2 October because in the
words of the border guards there had been `no complaints about their activity'.
The missionaries immediately appealed to the Immigration Department of the
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, where, it turned out, their application had not
even been looked at. According to officials at the department, `the governor
ordered that your applications should be delayed'. The missionaries were soon
informed that `the governor is preparing an expulsion order' and they returned
to Moscow.

Radchuk told Keston that the authorities had accused the missionaries of not
making any efforts to legalise their presence in Chukotka. The missionaries
countered that they had made every effort to rectify their situation and had
requested meetings with the governor, or with his deputies. Kulenich had also
been unable to meet anyone.

NIKOLAI NOVIKOV, head of the Immigration Department at the Chukotka
administration, told Keston on 5 October that these missionaries had indeed
applied for an entry permit. He also acknowledged that the Administration had
not received any complaints about the activities of these missionaries during
previous visits.

Kulenich also informed Keston that the full text of the governor's order
expelling the missionaries had been published in the `Krainy sever' newspaper
on 29 September. The same edition gave front-page coverage to a letter from
Russian Orthodox Patriarch ALEKSI to the governor of Chukotka, calling for
action to be taken against Protestant missionaries who `attempt to lure people
away by the simplicity of their teaching'. (END)


Wednesday 18 October 2000
RUSSIA: WHY ARE PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES SO
SUCCESSFUL IN FAR EAST?

by Tatyana Titova, Keston News Service

Why are Protestant missionaries so successful in gaining converts in areas such
as Chukotka? According to figures collected by Keston, the percentage of
Protestants is higher in the Russian Far North than in Russia as a whole. In
Chukotka alone, for every 11 Orthodox parishes there are 17 Protestant
churches.

A 28 February letter written by professor M.N. KUZNETSOV and student
IGOR PONKIN of the Russian Academy of State Service to VLADIMIR
GOMAN, chair of the Russian State Committee on Affairs of the North (see
KNS 19 July 2000) gives one interpretation. In particular, the letter states: `the
complex socio-economic conditions in the north, including the virtual collapse
of the economy of the region, the abject poverty of the minority peoples of the
north, placing them on the verge of
extinction, the corruption of local officials and the injection of significant
financial resources by the USA in the pursuit of its foreign policy aims in the
Russian Far East have all created fertile conditions for the activity of foreign
missionaries in the region. The weakness of local Orthodox structures,
including areas where there is no Orthodox presence at all, makes it easier for
foreign missionaries to pursue their aims.'

According to the regional administration it is the foreign missionaries who are
destroying the native culture of the ethnic minorities. V. KHVAN, head of the
Anadyr town administration, explained the reasons for the expulsion of foreign
missionaries in a letter to the Chukotka Christian Centre on 18 April: `the
reason why persons without [Russian] citizenship currently resident in the USA
have been refused entry to Anadyr is the number of complaints received from
leaders of the regional and district Councils of Elders and from the Anadyr
Association of the Native Minority Peoples of Chukotka. They want foreign
missionary activity among the native peoples to be stopped and the holding of
public services banned.' Regional officials also quote from a 16 July letter sent
by the chairman of the Council of Elders of Tunnetuvte O.D. AKMINCH
stating that `the native peoples of the Far North have their own pagan beliefs,
customs and cultural traditions, which they are trying to preserve for their
descendants'.

PAVEL RADCHUK of the Slavic International Association of Missionaries
denies that shamanism has been preserved among the Chukotkan peoples. `The
Soviet authorities spent seventy years eradicating it and this culture is not being
revived.' He countered that it was the missionaries� work on a translation of
the Gospels into the local language which influenced the revival of the native
language, which the younger generations did not know. `When our
congregations arrived in the villages, everything changed. Drunkenness was
reduced and families became stronger.' Missionaries are also working with
Ukrainians and Russians who make up 59,000 of the 75,000 people in
Chukotka, Radchuk added.

The aforementioned letter by Kuznetsov and Ponkin also states that `according
to experts from the Russian Orthodox Church, the majority of Protestant
missionaries [in the Chukotka region] lack professionalism, their behaviour
does not correspond to the conventional stereotype and they have a poor
knowledge of theology. On two occasions, in 1994 and 1995, missionaries who
had come to the region bringing humanitarian aid used techniques of hypnosis
on the local population. It is well known that such activity can have a
devastating effect on the psychological well-being of the individual and in no
way corresponds with the aims of missionary work.' (An informed source told
Keston that Ponkin has published two books under the pseudonym of Kulikov
on `Satanism' and `Occultism'. A third publication, a weighty reference book
with an anti-sectarian bent entitled `New Religious Movements in Russia with
Destructive, Occult and Neo-pagan Tendencies' has been revised and extended
under the direction of Bishop ARKADI of Vetluga.)

This summer the Patriarch sent a team of missionaries to Chukotka led by
Archbishop IOANN of Belgorod. The Moscow newspaper �Nezavisimaya
Gazeta� reported on 6 July that `the missionaries are studying the possibility of
creating a separate diocese in Chukotka as well as looking into the building of
a cathedral in Anadyr'. On 19 July the Holy Synod designated DIOMID
DZYUBAN Bishop of Anadyr and Chukotka.

SERGEI KULENICH, head of the Chukotka Renewal Christian Centre, told
Keston on 2 October that there are plans to give Orthodox religious instruction
in schools. �Orthodox missionaries are being flown in by helicopter but we are
told that our missionaries and humanitarian aid are not needed'. When the
Orthodox missionaries flew into the Chukchi villages they were told `you are
late in coming - you have come in your helicopters, the Pentecostal
missionaries arrived on foot.' (END)


NEWS IN BRIEF: CHUKOTKA, RUSSIA. The American missionary from
Alaska JOE PARSEL, who founded the `Living Word' Church (belonging to
SERGEI RYAKHOVSKY's Pentecostal Union), has been refused permission
to enter the town of Provideniye, whereas he used to stay in Chukotka for up to
six months at a time.

The registered Baptist churches are also experiencing problems - people
wanting to bring in humanitarian aid are being refused entry to the region.
(According to SERGEI KULENICH, head of the Chukotka Renewal Christian
Centre, which belongs to the Russian Union of Pentecostals led by VLADIMIR
MURZA). (END)


Copyright (c) 2000 Keston Institute. All rights reserved.