Russian atheists launch group to fight for equal rights

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, center, during a religious procession along the historic Peter Road from the Moscow Kremlin to the High Monastery of Saint Peter. © Sergey Pyatakov / Sputnik

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, center, during a religious procession along the historic Peter Road from the Moscow Kremlin to the High Monastery of Saint Peter. © Sergey Pyatakov / Sputnik

The Atheists of Russia movement has held its founding convention in Moscow, setting its primary goal as resistance to the growing influence of religion and appointing an activist from a vocal leftist party as its leader.

According to Interfax about 300 people from 50 regions across Russia took part in the founding convention. They declared that their group will fight against the influence of religious institutions on society.

Believers and atheists must have equal rights, the state has no right to interfere with the activities of any church, but the same applies to religions – they have no right to interfere with the affairs of the state,” the newly appointed leader of the movement, Ilya Ulianov, told reporters on Friday.

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I wish them all the best, and if there are ways to help, I will. The Russian Orthodox church won’t give a fraction of an inch willingly. In related news, the rarely publicized, but ongoing actual persecution of atheists continues:

Should it be a crime to deny the existence of God?

In the Russian city of Stavropol, Viktor Krasnov, a 38-year-old man, faces trial, charged with publicly insulting Orthodox Church believers by supporting atheism in social media. For proclaiming in a heated Internet exchange “there is no God,” Krasnov was confined for a month to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation. If convicted under Russia’s blasphemy law, enacted in 2013 and making it illegal to “insult the religious convictions or feelings of citizens,” he may spend up to a year in prison.


Russia, however, is not the only country where atheists face punishment. As noted in country chapters of its Annual Report, released on Monday, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on which we serve, has found no shortage of nations that perpetrate or permit their persecution. It is time for our country to shine a powerful spotlight on these abuses.

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  1. lorn says

    Reminds me of one of those medieval festivals, but with fewer women. Your typical medieval festival generally has at least one Maid Marion, or a Lusty Tavern Wench. Sometime, when the planets align just right, both. I once went to one that had a Marion, a lady in waiting, a wench, and a huntress … glory be … then again the mead was flowing freely and I’m not entirely sure everyone I saw was really there.

    There seems to be some correlation between the stultifying rigidity of a religion and the more elaborate nature of their vestments.

    Can the official vestment of Humanism be established as the human body? Can we arrange for massive nude parades where we can all celebrate being human, warts and all? Weather permitting, of course.

  2. AlexanderZ says

    Look at that picture. I can guarantee you that everyone over 40 in there was a fervent communist back in the day.

    There are women in the picture. One is behind the golden youth, second to the right of Kirill. Others are visible throughout the picture -- look for anyone wearing a white hijab.

  3. Lofty says

    They support patriarchy and conservatism. The exact flavor doesn’t matter to them so long as they’re oppressing someone they don’t like.

  4. rq says

    Religious bigotry is nothing if not equal opportunity. The loudest opponents to Latvia signing the Istanbul Convention seem to be women (right now, it’s the only country not to have ratified it, and the government is planning on ratifying it with the caveat “where it does not contradict the Constitution”). And these opponents are, in fact, taking example from Russia as the Last Bastion of Proper (Christian) Morality. I find myself disturbed, as these are people who also ‘see nothing wrong with fascism in and of itself’. Yes, high government officials. In the Ministry of Justice.
    Fun times.

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