The Russian Church does not support the tightening of the rules of fire-prevention and antiterrorist safety in churches

*** Checks without prior approval may offend the feelings of believers

Saint-Petersburg. May 16. INTERFAX – Legislative initiative on toughening of rules of fire-prevention and antiterrorist safety in the premises of religious organizations is unreasonable and can provoke strife, the head of the legal service of the Moscow Patriarchate abbess Xenia (Chernega).

The draft Federal law “On the state control (supervision) and municipal control”, which provides the risk based approach in conducting verification activities, “alarming”, said K. Chernega on Wednesday during one of the discussions at the St. Petersburg international legal forum.

The legislative act suggests that auditors will be allowed to assess the risk of default of the religious organizations law, by denominations, or religious communities the hazard class, depending on which will determine the inspection frequency and procedure of their conduct.

“This kind of initiative by religious organizations assignment of hazard class for the division of religious communities into safe and dangerous violates the absolute principle of equality of religious associations before the law and will give rise to some tensions in the sphere of state-confessional relations, religious hatred and enmity. In addition, this bill provides for the conduct of verification activities without prior approval from the religious organizations of the date and time of inspections, which can lead to breakdowns of worship and offending religious feelings of the clergy and parishioners,” said K. Chernega.

She also noted that the Church does not agree with the adopted in the first reading a law that toughens administrative liability for failure to comply with the requirements of anti-terrorist protection of places of mass stay of people. According to K. Chernega, it can lead to unreasonably large claims to religious buildings and premises, especially in small towns.

“Religious organizations conduct their activities at the expense of donations of citizens. And it is clear that the use of these rather stringent requirements need to use some kind of balanced approach,” she added.