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16968Over 80% of Russians Favor ‘Blasphemy’ Dr aft Law - Survey

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Sep 25, 2012

      Over 80% of Russians Favor ‘Blasphemy’ Draft Law - Survey
      02:38 26/09/2012
      MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti)

      Over 80 percent of Russians support a draft legislation that would
      introduce harsher penalties for blasphemy and desecrating religious
      sites, a survey by the state-run pollster VTsIOM said.

      Lawmakers from the parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, will debate
      starting next week amendments to the country’s Criminal Code. The
      amendments envisage a prison term of up to three years or a penalty
      between 100,000 and 200,000 rubles ($3,200-6,400) for desecration of
      religious sites and intimidation of religious beliefs of people.

      According to the survey, 82 percent of the polled favor the new draft
      law, while 12 percent spoke against it.

      The initiative first emerged after a Moscow court handed down in late
      August a two-year sentence to three members of the all-female anti-Putin
      punk band Pussy Riot, in a case which divided Russian society and
      sparked a wave of protest actions in support of the group. The group
      members were jailed after a protest at Moscow’s largest cathedral over
      Orthodox Church support for Vladimir Putin ahead of the March
      presidential polls that him to the Kremlin for a third term.

      The draft law also comes after four wooden crosses were chopped down in
      Russia’s regions last month. A senior Moscow priest, Dmitry Smirnov,
      said the cross attacks amounted to a declaration of war against the
      Church. Several Church figures have previously called for blasphemy to
      be made a crime. It is currently an administrative offense punishable by
      a fine of up to 1,000 rubles ($31).

      The survey was conducted on September 7-8, among 1,600 respondents in
      138 Russian cities and towns. The margin of error is below 3.4 percent.