Yarovaya Laws

On Religious Freedom, Is Russia the Next Saudi Arabia?

by Hannah Gais

Russia

As Donald Trump’s newly-minted administration struggles to adhere to a concise foreign policy, an independent commission has thrown yet another cog in its long-lost dream of a productive relationship with the “very smart” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a recently released annual report issued by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)—an independent federal commission tasked with advising the State Department and other policymakers on matters of religious freedom—one country name stuck out like a sore thumb among the organization’s list of countries of particular concern (CPC): Russia. Continue Reading…

After the Yarovaya Laws: The Russian Orthodox Church and the “Traditional Values” International at a Crossroads

by Christopher Stroop

One of the strangest aspects of Vladimir Putin’s third term as president of the Russian Federation has been the emergence of Russia as the global standard bearer for so-called “traditional values.” Many commentators, pundits, scholars, and Russia watchers have had difficulty coming to terms with this shift.

While certain left-wing commentators such as Stephen F. Cohen and Glenn Greenwald have joined Green Party candidate Jill Stein in continuing to see Russia as somehow mysteriously leftist, Moscow has made no secret of its pursuit of a “traditional values” agenda in close collaboration with the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump consistently supports Putin and spouts Russian propaganda. Continue Reading…