Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders recently participated in a Freedom of Conscience forum hosted by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in mid-October 2018.  The forum’s theme, "Religion in the context of the political and constitutional-legal system of Russia" celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Russian Federation’s Constitution and the 100th anniversary of the decree on separation of church and state.

The event was organized by the Commission on Harmonization of Interethnic and Interreligious Relations of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, the Standing Committee on Cultural Rights, Education and Science of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation on the development of civil society and human rights, the Commission on Improving the Law and Law Enforcement Practice of the Council on Cooperation with Religious Associations under the President of the Russian Federation, Department of State-Confessional Relations (IGSU R), the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian Association for the Protection of Religious Freedom (RARS), and the Slavic Law Center (SPT).

Many religious and public figures, religious scholars, lawyers, human rights activists, as well as representatives of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation, the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Government of the Russian Federation, federal executive bodies, law enforcement agencies, members of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation attended the forum. 

Pastors and leaders of the Adventist Church in the Euro-Asian Division, the West-Russian Union and the Moscow Association made a significant contribution to the discussion.

The 25th anniversary of the adoption of the constitution of the Russian Federation—the legal basis of the Russian state and society—is a reason to evaluate the achievements and problems of the current state-religious relationship in Russia, and the participation of religious associations in the development of civil society.

Forum participants noted that religious associations and non-profit organizations actively interact with the State on a wide range of key national tasks. This type of cooperation is necessary in matters of charity, youth education, implementation of large-scale programs in the field of culture, education, and education. It is difficult to overestimate the contribution of religious associations to the preservation of our historical heritage, timeless spiritual and moral family values, ​​and their efforts to preserve unity and social harmony.

Participants also recognized the State’s efforts to create comfortable conditions for religious association’s activities in the country and their help in solving current problems and issues. The discussion addressed topical issues of legal regulation, as well as achievements and problems in the field of religious activities, the development of the volunteer movement, the implementation of freedom of conscience in the context of anti-extremist legislation, land and property relations of religious associations, expert activities in the religious sphere, interaction of religious associations with authorities government and local government. They identified the main problems on these topics that require further solutions and improvements.

According to the results of the forum, recommendations and suggestions will be developed and sent to the relevant state authorities and interested organizations in the context of the issues discussed, and a collection of materials and reports of the forum participants will be published.