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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

06/24/1997

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Duma Passes Harsher Religion Bill

The State Duma passed an even more restrictive version of a much-criticized bill on religious organizations Monday, adding private charity to a list of activities that would be forbidden to minority and foreign religious groups. The bill, ""On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations,"" swiftly passed on third and final reading by a 300-8 vote. It now goes to the upper chamber, the Federation Council, where it is expected to pass easily. President Boris Yeltsin has not indicated whether he will sign the bill. The measure, sought by the Russian Orthodox Church, would protect Russia's traditional religions, which would enjoy full legal rights. It would discriminate against religious groups that have existed in Russia for less than 15 years. Such groups would not be allowed to own property, worship in public, publish literature or conduct educational activities.

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