USCIRF 2018 Report mentions Scientology and Russia


Patron Meritorious
On April 25, 2018, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2018 Annual Report.

The report contains three passages concerning Scientology, all related to Russia.
In Russia, the government banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses and prosecuted for extremism peaceful Muslims and “nontraditional” groups, including Scientologists.

During 2017, Russia showed no signs of wavering from the repressive behavior it demonstrated in 2016 that led USCIRF to recommend its designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, for the first time in April 2017. The government continued to target “nontraditional” religious minorities, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientologists, with fines, detentions, and criminal charges under the pretext of combating extremism.

In June 2017, Russian security services raided the St. Petersburg headquarters of the Church of Scientology and arrested five members, including director Galina Shurinova, on charges of “illegal business operations” and extremism. As of the end of the year, the two male defendants—Sakhib Aliev and Ivan Matsytski—were still in jail, while the three female defendants—Shurinova, Anastasiya Terentyeva, and Konstantia Saulkova—were under house arrest awaiting trial. The Russian human rights organization Memorial has recognized all five as political prisoners.