A Hare Krishna follower in Cherkessk, the capital city of Russia's Karachay-Cherkess Republic, has been charged with illegal missionary activity for standing outside, telling passersby about his faith, and handing out religious literature. Vadim Sibirev is the first person in Russia to be charged with a misdemeanor established by new “anti-terrorist” legislation signed by Vladimir Putin last month.
Local police say Sibirev violated Russia's newly revised law on the freedom of conscience, which specifies the restrictions on where individuals can conduct missionary activity “unimpeded.”
Sibirev's court hearing began on August 4.
On July 7, Vladimir Putin signed new “anti-terrorist” laws that introduced several controversial amendments to Russia's criminal and administrative codes. One of the amendments makes it illegal to conduct missionary work outside designated areas. The maximum fine for breaking this law is 50,000 rubles ($775).