The Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps surprising us or rather keeps meeting our expectations from his regime, undoubtedly, one of the most repressive regimes of modern history.

This time, Putin proposed a bill to amend the Russian Federal law on “Counteracting Extremist Activities”. This bill forbids to recognize extracts from some “holy texts” as extremists: «Article 3.1. Features of application of the legislation of the Russian Federation on countering extremist activity in relation to religious texts. The Bible, the Quran, the Tanakh (Holy Scriptures in Judaism,author) and Gandzhur (sacred Buddhist texts, author ), their content and quotes from them can’t be recognized as extremist materials». The text as published on the official website of the govt.
This bill, that undoubtedly, will be approved by all the deputies of the Duma, since it comes from the “Tsar” himself, grants us the opportunity to make two important reflections.

Firstly, it allows us to see how dictatorial regimes (I want to highlight again that this regime is one of the most brutal of modern history) collaborate with religious institutions and how they support each other. This happens, as both of these ideas, dictatorship and religion, share a similar nature and common goals. Both of them exist to oppress and control entire societies by misleading their populations with fake morals, by ensuring their people that they are the chosen ones, that they are superior to some others.
Secondly, what could be a better proof than such a bill, to show that religious texts are full of, if not simply are, extremists ideas and calls. By forbidding to quote the Bible, the Quran, the Tanakh and the Gandzhur as examples of extremist materials, Putin and the Duma clearly state that these texts are examples of extremism.
You don’t need to forbid people to search for something that they wouldn’t be able to find.
We keep being told that religion, with all its imperfections and old visions of the world, at least instills morality and support to its followers. Today, I ensure you that the contrary is the case. Religions are the  inspirations of social inequality, religion often instills violence, not morality, and often guides its followers into extremism, as Putin’s new bill proves.

Inna Shevchenko

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