Religious freedom conditions in Russia continue to deteriorate. The government targets “nontraditional” religious minorities with fines, detentions and criminal charges under the pretext of combating extremism. Russian legislation criminalizes “extremism” without adequately defining the term, enabling the state to prosecute a vast range of nonviolent religious activity.

Source: View shows mosque in Moscow, RUETERS / Karpukhin


Ivan Matsitsky

In 2016, a St. Petersburg regional department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a criminal investigation which ultimately determined that illegal entrepreneurship from the local Scientology community generated around 280… Read More >


Dennis Christensen

Dennis Ole Christensen is a Danish citizen who lives in Oryol, Russia. Before his detention, he worked as a carpenter while living with his wife, Irina Christensen, who is a Russian citizen.

As of May 2019, Russian authorities… Read More >

Recent News

Press Releases

Religion News Service: Three Jehovah’s Witnesses sentenced to six or more years in Russian prison for their faith

United Press International: Russia delivers harshest sentence yet in crackdown on Jehovah's Witnesses

Enforcing Blasphemy Laws Have Dire Consequences

Washington Examiner: 'A serious foreign policy weapon': Russia and China align against religious liberty advocates

VOA: Annual Report on International Religious Freedom

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USCIRF Releases 2021 Annual Report with Recommendations for U.S. Policy

USCIRF Releases Groundbreaking Report on the Enforcement of Blasphemy Laws Globally

USCIRF Welcomes U.S. House Passage of Ukraine Religious Freedom Support Act

USCIRF Releases New Report about Global Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

USCIRF Troubled by Russia’s Ongoing Imprisonment of Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen

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Newsweek: It’s Time to Get Concerned About Russia

Washington Examiner: Washington Must Expand the List of Sanctioned Religious Freedom Violators

The Hill: Protecting Religious Freedom Provides Common Ground for All

Atlantic Council: Another Missed Opportunity: Russia Evades Designation for Religious Repression

The Hill: The List No One Wants to Be On

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Remarks by USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett, 2013 Annual Report, National Endowment for Democracy

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Annual Report
Reports, Briefs, and Factsheets

2021 Annual Report

Russia Annual Report Chapters and Translations

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Violating Rights: Enforcing the World's Blasphemy Laws

December 09, 2020

Issue Update: The Global Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses

November 10, 2020

Factsheet: Ritual Slaughter Restrictions in Europe

October 07, 2020

Factsheet: Conscientious Objection

October 05, 2020

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Congressional Testimony

Congressional Testimony
Government Correspondence

Testimony of Vice Chair Maenza on Global Persecution of Christians

July 09, 2019

Testimony of USCIRF Chair Thomas J. Reese, S.J., on "Blasphemy Laws and Censorship by States and Non-State Actors"

July 14, 2016

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