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Russia: Mari Paganism and Charges of “Extremism”

OpenDemocracy.net reports: “In their remote forest republic 400 miles east of the Moscow, the pagan Mari people are once again being harassed by the authorities. […] Ethnically kin to the Finns and Hungarians, their profoundly ecological religious worldview challenges Russian-led designs on their republic’s natural resources.”

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  • […] Global Voices points to an Open Democracy report from last month on how Mari Traditional Faith (the indigenous belief system of the Mari people in the Republic of Mari El) is facing a renewed form of “anti-religion” in Russia. In response to an appeal by the local state prosecutor, Yoshkar-Ola Municipal Court found Vitaly Tanakov guilty of religious and ethnic hatred in 2006, sentencing him to 120 hours’ forced labour. In 2009, Mari El Supreme Court ruled that his leaflet – “A Priest Speaks” – contained religious and other extremism. It is now banned throughout Russia. […]

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