Illegal dissolution of religious organisation: Bryansk-Tula Diocese v Russia

Bryansk-Tula Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Free Church v Russia [2022] ECHR 584 was about the dissolution of a diocese of the Russian Orthodox Free Church, a religious organisation registered under Russian law in 1995 in the Bryansk Region, for failure to conform to certain new requirements of domestic law [1]. In 2004 the Ministry of Justice brought an action for the dissolution of the diocese, citing its failure to secure re-registration under the new Religions Act; however, the Trubchevskiy District Court in the Bryansk Region rejected the claim, finding that the articles of incorporation complied with the Act. The Ministry did not appeal; however, when the diocese asked the Ministry about the conditions and procedure for obtaining re-registration, it replied that re‑registration was no longer possible because the time-limit for applying for it had expired on 31 December 2000 [2]. Subsequently, there were various exchanges between the diocese and the Ministry [3-4], culminating in 2012 in a new action by the Ministry for dissolution of the diocese on the grounds that it had committed “gross and repetitive breaches of the law”. Continue reading