January 16, 2013
Russia Approves Mandatory Teaching of Religion in Public Schools
Education bill signed by President Vladimir Putin will take effect in September.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new law mandating the study of religion for all Russian students, according to a statement from the Kremlin.
The Moscow Times reports that the new law, which provoked protests last November and will go into effect in September, will establish a course teaching the "fundamentals of religion" in all public schools.
A more in-depth report from Russia Beyond the Headlines states that Russia's largest religious denominations will "contribute to the preparation of the curriculum and material for the course known as 'The basics of religious culture and secular ethics.'"
However, that report also noted that the Russian constitution enforces the separation of church and state, and "some of the principal issues surrounding this law have still not been addressed: for example, the issue of separating schools from the church."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently criticized the state of religious freedom in Russia, which has made headlines for its decision to end international adoptions to the U.S. and for a blasphemy law controversy.
CT previously covered Russia's expansion of the religion classes, as well as the rise of blasphemy laws in Russia and in other European nations. CT has also covered Christian higher education in Russia.