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Aram Terzyan


This paper explores the state of religious freedoms in Putin’s Russia, with a special emhasis on the Kremlin’s intensifying efforts at establishing Orthodox monopoly. It is an in-depth case analysis that uses policy and discourse analysis to examine the state of religious freedoms in Russia. It suggests that anti-extremism law has become an instrument of state control over a wide array of speech or activity. Through state-supported legislation, the authorities censor religious life to prevent the rise of anti-government sentiments. The groups most affected by the government’s anti-religious policy are “non-traditional” religious groups, facing hardships in exercising their rights and freedoms. Their activities are increasingly banned on the grounds of “extremism” and “terrorism”. Russia’s tightening of legislation on extremism has been combined with its withdrawal from the Council of Europe, which poses additional threats for religious communities by eliminating any international scrutiny over the government’s actions. This paper concludes that while Russian history has been traditionally characterized by religious intolerance towards small denominations, the intensifying crackdown on religious freedoms is part of the Kremlin’s policy of ensuring a monopoly across the country for the Russian Orthodox Church.    


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How to Cite
Terzyan, Aram. 2023. “THE STATE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN RUSSIA: TOWARDS ORTHODOX MONOPOLY ”. Journal of Liberty and International Affairs 9 (2):507-19.
Author Biography

Aram Terzyan, Center for East European and Russian Studies, Eurasia Institutes - California, USA

I am a political scientist, and I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from National Defense Research University and Yerevan State University in 2014. My areas of specialization include Post-Soviet Politics, Foreign Policy Analysis and Human Rights in former Soviet Union countries. I was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yerevan State University from 2014 to 2018. I have held research positions at New Europe College (Bucharest, Romania), Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), and Malmo University (Malmo, Sweden). Currently, I am the research coordinator of the Los Angeles-based Eurasia Institutes.