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