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Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2005


(Washington) - The Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), announced that the Commission will hold a hearing on problems experienced by unregistered religious communities operating within the Russian Federation. While religious freedom is generally protected at the federal level, unregistered religious groups throughout the Russian Federation must regularly overcome local obstacles to enjoy the free practice of religion. Problems faced by these communities range from acts of violence to governmental prohibitions on public meetings.

Unregistered Religious Groups in Russia
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2005
2200 Rayburn House Office Building

Witnesses include:

Panel 1
John V. Hanford III, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Panel 2
Larry Uzzell, International Religious Freedom Watch
Boris Perchatkin, American-Russian Relief Committee
Andrew Okhotin, member of Independent Christian Baptists
Paul Goble, Eurocollege – University of Tartu, Estonia
Sergei Cherpanov, Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses - Russia

The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States or a representative has been invited to testify.

An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission's web site at within 24 hours of the hearing.

The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.


Media Contact: Sean Woo
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Russian Federation


Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion or Belief


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