Religions in Belarus: Declared Equality vs. Reality

catholic_procession Radio Liberty

Catholic procession in Minsk, Source: Radio Liberty

Inspired by the report on religious restrictions that the Pew Research Centre released in April, I have written an article about the situation in Belarus. The article looks at how the authorities struggle to reconcile the religious diversity with the right to equality of religions.

Last month, the Pew Research Centre released its Global Restrictions on Religion report, which gauges barriers imposed by governments as well as social hostilities towards religious organisations. Out of the nearly 200 countries studied, Belarus ranked among the ‘high-risk’ group when it comes to religious restrictions.

In a regional context, Belarus fared worse than neighbouring Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, but better than in Russia. Rather surprisingly, Belarus scored relatively well with regards to the level of social hostility towards religious groups.

As another social survey demonstrated, all major Christian churches in Belarus enjoy a relatively high level of social trust. The Belarusian Orthodox Church, however, given its privileged position vis-a-vis state authorities, is more influential than others. Nevertheless, despite the significantly lower human and financial resources of other Christian confessions, Belarusians did show some trust towards them as well.

Read more on Belarus Digest

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