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Russia Approves Mandatory Teaching of Religion in Public Schools

Education bill signed by President Vladimir Putin will take effect in September.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new law mandating the study of religion for all Russian students, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

The Moscow Times reports that the new law, which provoked protests last November and will go into effect in September, will establish a course teaching the "fundamentals of religion" in all public schools.

A more in-depth report from Russia Beyond the Headlines states that Russia's largest religious denominations will "contribute to the preparation of the curriculum and material for the course known as 'The basics of religious culture and secular ethics.'"

However, that report also noted that the Russian constitution enforces the separation of church and state, and "some of the principal issues surrounding this law have still not been addressed: for example, the issue of separating schools from the church."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently criticized the state of religious freedom in Russia, which ...

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