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Russia moves to shut down 56 religious groups report

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The daily Gazeta reported today that Russia’s justice ministry plans to "liquidate" 56 religious organisations for failing to inform authorities of their activities.

"There is no community of the Russian Orthodox Church on the list," the Russian newspaper noted in reference to the dominant religion in the country.

Published on the justice ministry’s website, the list includes 56 organisations against which the ministry "plans to lodge requests for liquidation."

The website does not give reasons for the decision but, according to the Gazeta, authorities accuse them of failing to submit annual reports, as required by controversial legislation on non-governmental organisations.

Among the NGOs targeted by the ministry was a branch of the Catholic organisation Caritas International in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk,
and several evangelical and Muslim groups.

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Bibi the yo yos

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By Uri Avnery


It was all rather disgusting.

There they were, the members of the highest legislative bodies of the world’s only superpower, flying up and down like so many yo-yos, applauding wildly, every few minutes or seconds, the most outrageous lies and distortions of Binyamin Netanyahu.

It was worse than the Syrian parliament during a speech by Bashar Assad, where anyone not applauding could find himself in prison. Or Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, when showing less than sufficient respect could have meant death.

What the American Senators and Congressmen feared was a fate worse than death. Anyone remaining seated or not applauding wildly enough could have been caught on camera – and that amounts to political suicide. It was enough for one single congressman to rise and applaud, and all the others had to follow suit. Who would dare not to?

The sight of these hundreds of parliamentarians jumping up and clapping their hands, again and again and again and again, with the Leader graciously acknowledging with a movement of his hand, was reminiscent of other regimes. Only this time it was not the local dictator who compelled this adulation, but a foreign one.

The most depressing part of it was that there was not a single lawmaker – Republican or Democrat – who dared to resist. When I was a 9 year old boy in Germany, I dared to leave my right arm hanging by my side when all my schoolmates raised theirs in the Nazi salute and sang Hitler’s anthem. Is there no one in Washington DC who has that simple courage? Is it really Washington IOT – Israel Occupied Territory – as the anti-Semites assert?

Many years ago I visited the Senate hall and was introduced to the leading Senators of the time. I was profoundly shocked. After being brought up in deep respect for the Senate of the United States, the country of Jefferson and Lincoln, I was faced with a bunch of pompous asses, many of them nincompoops who had not the slightest idea what they were talking about. I was told that it was their assistants who really understood matters.

So what did the great man say to this august body?

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