Russian Intellectuals Protest "Soviet Era"-Type Expulsions of Clerics

MOSCOW, APRIL 26, 2002 ( A group of Russian intellectuals and writers published a letter of protest over the expulsion of Catholic Bishop Jerzy Mazur of Irkutsk, and Italian priest Stefano Caprio.

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In the open letter published Thursday in the newspaper Nezavisimaia Gazeta, the signatories criticize the lack of credible reasons for the measures, which they describe as “worthy of the Soviet era.”

The letter is signed, among others, by Boris Vasiliev, one of the most renowned Russian writers, by poetess Rimma Kazakova, and by Serghiei Filatov, president of the Council of Russian Intellectuals and former assistant of Boris Yeltsin.

The measures taken against the two Catholic clergymen have sparked protests in the Russian media, among political observers, and in the government, as well as in the Catholic bishops´ conference and the Holy See, Vatican Radio reported.

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