Father Nikolai Sushenko, head of the Bishkek Russian Orthodox diocese, complained at a news conference at the office of akipress.org on 8 May about changes to the country's law on religion proposed by the Kyrgyz parliament, the news agency reported. Sushenko acknowledged that the law needs revision, but in his view the proposed changes would allow "sects" -- in other words, non-traditional religious confessions with small numbers of adherents -- "to do whatever they like." Sushenko said the Russian law on religion, which has been sharply criticized by international human rights groups as excessively restrictive, was just right and asserted that the stability of the Central Asian region depends on limiting the number of "sects." He reportedly added that almost all "sects" are potentially dangerous to Kyrgyzstan and that he had shared his views with members of parliament.
The Times of Central Asia/RFE/RL, May 11, 2003