Fact Check: President Putin Did NOT Declare Islam Russia's Second State Religion

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: President Putin Did NOT Declare Islam Russia's Second State Religion Secular State

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin declare Islam to be Russia's second state religion? No, that's not true: Russia is a secular state and does not have a state religion. According to its constitution, no state religion may be established, and the state and religion are considered separate.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @tahaaljlal on August 19, 2023, under the title "Breaking. Russians in Islamic History." The caption (translated into English from Arabic by Lead Stories staff) read:

Vladimir Putin officially declared from the Kremlin the decision to record Islam as the second religion in Russia, lifting all the restrictions on Muslims, integrating mosques and the role of religion within the framework of law, giving them financial aid, including Islamic studies in the school curriculum across the country and upcoming amendments in the parliament.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 16.21.27.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Sep 13 19:57:48 2023 UTC)

According to the constitution of the Russian Federation, the state is considered secular and separated from religion. Article 14 of the consitution reads:

1. The Russian Federation is a secular state. No religion may be established as a state or obligatory one.

2. Religious associations shall be separated from the State and shall be equal before the law.

Lead Stories examined the web pages of the President of Russia, the Russian Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, but found no statements regarding the establishment of Islam as the second state religion of Russia.

Lead Stories conducted a Google News search (archived here) and the results showed no reporting about such a claim. The claim would have received worldwide media coverage if it were true.

According to the U.S State Department's 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom: Russia:

The law identifies Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism as the country's four 'traditional' religions and recognizes the special role of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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