The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has approved a law on religion which opponents say gives unfair privileges to the Russian Orthodox Church and discriminates against other confessions. (UPI, July 4) The bill now goes to President Boris Yeltsin for signature. Experts say the bill is targeted against the Roman Catholic and nonconformist churches which are seen by the Russian Orthodox hierarchy as poaching on its territory. Larry Uzzell of the respected Keston Institute in Moscow said he thought the bill was politically inspired. In the provinces, he said, relations between the different faiths are generally harmonious. Uzzell predicted that Moscow would "not be so stupid" as to try to shut down Roman Catholic parishes, which extend all over Russia. He was less optimistic about the fate of nonconformist parishes, since they are less likely than Rome to be able to drum up international political support. (BBC World Service, July 4)
Yeltsin Expected to Veto Land Code.