Witch Regulation Moving Forward In Russia

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The question of whether Russia or Romania has more powerful witches has now been settled, or at least the question of which set of witches has more powerful lobbyists.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Romanian lawmakers refused to pass a bill that would have regulated witches and fortune tellers in that country, because — according to the bill's sponsor — many were afraid they would be cursed if they voted for it.  See "Witch-Regulation Bill Fails to Pass in Romania," Lowering the Bar (Sept. 13, 2010). But in Russia, former superpower and the country that invented huts that run around on chicken legs, the witch industry has apparently fallen on hard times.

Shut Up About Witchcraft!The Russian parliament has at least tentatively approved a bill that would preclude witches and wizards from advertising. The report cited the Orthodox Church (not exactly a neutral source) as saying that Russia has somewhere around 800,000 occult practioners, many of whom run newspaper ads offering to do things like lift curses or cure alcoholism or even cancer. The bill's sponsors want to ban the ads in an effort to encourage Russians to visit actual doctors instead.

The bill has a couple more hurdles to pass before it could become law, and then there is the fact that it would plainly violate Article 29 of the Russian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of ideas and speech to all citizens who are not criticizing Vladimir Putin. So even if Russian lawmakers ignore the risk of being cursed and pass a final version of the bill, the Russian judiciary would still have an excuse to strike it down, assuming the Russian judiciary does that kind of thing these days. If it doesn't, maybe this would be a good time to start?