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FEDERAL LAW OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

of September 26, 1997 No. 125-FZ

About liberty of conscience and about religious associations

(as amended on 02-12-2019)

Accepted by the State Duma on September 19, 1997

Approved by the Federation Council on September 24, 1997

Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation,

confirming the right of everyone to liberty of conscience and religious liberty, and also to equality before the law irrespective of the relation to religion and beliefs,

that the Russian Federation is the secular state

recognizing special role of Orthodoxy in the history of Russia, in formation and development of her spirituality and culture,

respecting Christianity, Islam, the Buddhism, Judaism and other religions constituting integral part of historical heritage of the people of Russia

considering important to assist achievement of mutual understanding, tolerance and respect in questions of liberty of conscience and religious liberty,

adopts this Federal Law.

Chapter I. General provisions

Article 1. Subject of regulation of this Federal Law

This Federal Law regulates legal relationship in the field of rights of man and citizen on liberty of conscience and religious liberty, and also legal status of religious associations, including feature of their civil provision.

Article 2. Legislation on liberty of conscience, religious liberty and on religious associations

1. The legislation on liberty of conscience, religious liberty and on religious associations consists of the relevant standards of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Civil code of the Russian Federation, of this Federal Law, other regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation, and also regulatory legal acts of subjects of the Russian Federation accepted according to them.

2. Rights of man and citizen on liberty of conscience and religious liberty are regulated by the Federal Law. The laws and other regulatory legal acts adopted in the Russian Federation and affecting realization of right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty, and also activities of religious associations shall correspond to this Federal Law. In case of contradiction to this Federal Law of regulatory legal acts of subjects of the Russian Federation concerning protection of right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty and concerning activities of religious associations this Federal Law is effective.

3. Nothing in the legislation on liberty of conscience, religious liberty and on religious associations shall be interpreted in sense of derogation or infringement of the rights of man and citizen on liberty of conscience and religious liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation or following from international treaties of the Russian Federation.

Article 3. Right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty

1. In the Russian Federation liberty of conscience and religious liberty, including the right to profess individually or together with others any religion or not to profess any, to make church services, other religious practices and ceremonies, to perform training of religion and religious education, to freely choose and change, have and extend religious and other beliefs and to be effective according to them are guaranteed, including creating religious associations.

The foreign citizens and stateless persons which are legally in the territory of the Russian Federation have right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty on an equal basis with citizens of the Russian Federation and bear the responsibility for violation of the legislation on liberty of conscience, religious liberty established by the Federal Laws and about religious associations.

2. The right of man and citizen on liberty of conscience and religious liberty can be limited to the Federal Law only in that measure in what it is necessary for the purpose of protection of bases of the constitutional system, morality, health, the rights and legitimate interests of man and citizen, ensuring defense of the country and safety of the state.

3. Establishment of benefits, restrictions or other forms of discrimination depending on the relation to religion is not allowed.

4. Citizens of the Russian Federation are equal before the law in all areas of civil, political, economic, social and cultural life irrespective of their relation to religion and religious affiliation. The citizen of the Russian Federation if his beliefs or religion are contradicted by execution of military service, has the right to replacement with its alternative civil service.

5. Nobody shall report about the relation to religion and can be exposed to coercion in case of determination of the relation to religion, to confession or refusal of confession of religion, to participation or nonparticipation in church services, other religious practices and ceremonies, in activities of religious associations, in training of religion. Involvement of juveniles in religious associations, and also training of juveniles of religion contrary to their will and without the consent of their parents or persons replacing them is forbidden.

6. The hindrance to implementation of right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty including integrated to personal violence, to intentional insult of feelings of citizens in connection with their relation to religion with promotion of religious superiority, with destruction either with damage of property or with threat of making of such actions, is forbidden and pursued according to the Federal Law. Holding public actions, placement of the texts and images offending religious feelings of citizens near objects of religious honoring are forbidden.

7. The seal of confession is protected by the law. The priest cannot be made responsible for standing mute on circumstances which became known to it from confession.

Article 4. State and religious associations

1. The Russian Federation - the secular state. No religion can be established as state or obligatory. Religious associations are separated the state and are equal before the law.

2. According to the constitutional principle of department of religious associations from the state the state:

does not interfere with determination by the citizen of the relation to religion and religious affiliation, with education of children by the parents or persons replacing them according to the beliefs and taking into account the child's right to liberty of conscience and religious liberty;

does not assign accomplishment of functions of public authorities, other state bodies, public institutions and local government bodies to religious associations;

does not interfere with activities of religious associations if it does not contradict this Federal Law;

provides secular nature of education in state and municipal educational institutions.

3. The state regulates provision to the religious organizations of tax and other benefits, gives financial, financial and other aid to the religious organizations in restoration, content and protection of the buildings and objects which are historical and cultural monuments and also in ensuring teaching general education disciplines in the educational organizations created by the religious organizations in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation about education.

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