Washington, 15 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A religious analyst yesterday told the U.S. government's Helsinki commission that Russians have less religious freedom today than when the country adopted a new constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion in 1993.
Larry Uzzell, Moscow representative of the London-based Keston Institute, told a Washington briefing that many of Russia's provincial governors are openly flouting the constitution by adopting new legislation that restricts religious freedoms.
He called on western countries, particularly the United States, to elevate the issue in bilateral discussions with Russian officials. He said the U.S. should make it clear that Russia will not be integrated into the free world if it continues to violate its constitution, especially when it comes to religious freedom.
The Keston Institute specializes in religious life and religious freedoms in communist and formerly-communist countries. The Helsinki commission monitors participating countries compliance with the Helsinki Accords, which guarantee a variety of personal freedoms.