GO TO SOURCE
MOSCOW, RUSSIA, May 12, 2001: The Russian Orthodox Church, the dominant religious institution in multi-religious Russia, has blacklisted eight India-based religious organizations that it considers "harmful sects." The list was released at a conference, titled "Totalitarian sects: Danger of the 21st century." According to the Moscow weekly journal Profile, the blacklisted groups are the International society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Ananda Marg, the organizations associated with Mararishi Mahesh Yogi, Sahaja Yoga, the followers of Shri Chinmoy, the Brahma Kumaris, the followers of Satya Sai Baba and Osho Rajnesh's organization. ISKCON and the Brahma Kumaris have the strongest presence in Russia of the blacklisted organizations. Two organizations that escaped the list were the Ramakrishna Mission and the Moscow Gurdwara Committee. The Orthodox Church has a rehabilitation center for the victims of the "harmful sects," and those who have left the folds must go through special re-conversion rituals to return to orthodox Christianity. Though religion and state are separate under the secular Russian constitution, Russia's powerful Orthodox Church receives heavy support from the state and exerts strong political influence. The Church's blacklisting carries no legal force, but the country's laws do allow for limiting or banning of organizations considered harmful to Russian society. Organizations can also be denied registration, and while not thereby made illegal, cannot own property, have bank accounts or otherwise operate easily in the country.