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Dissent on the MarginsHow Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It$
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Emily B. Baran

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945535

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945535.001.0001

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Freedom and Opposition

Freedom and Opposition

(p.222) 8 Freedom and Opposition
Dissent on the Margins

Emily B. Baran

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how fragile democratic institutions and weak public support for religious pluralism led to divergent religious policies in the Soviet successor states. In Moldova and Ukraine, the state largely resisted attempts to transform its religious policy in order to restrict minority faiths. The promise of European integration motivated the two states to temper their religious policies to conform to European standards. Moreover, the factionalization of Orthodox life limited the influence of the Orthodox churches on state policy. In contrast, both Russia and the breakaway region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova pursued legal and extralegal means to curtail the activities of “nontraditional religions.” Witnesses themselves responded to new challenges to their right to practice as they had for decades, working within and through the legal system, including the European Court of Human Rights, whenever possible, and operating outside of it when not.

Keywords:   Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Transnistria, European Court of Human Rights, European integration, Russian Orthodox Church, religious pluralism

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