In response to reports that Russian yoga teacher Yekaterina Kalinkina was arrested on charges of illegal missionary activity, following a Mahashivaratri celebration she held in March, HAF Director of Human Rights Deepali Kulkarni stated:
“Unfortunately this sort of persecution of religious minorities in Russia is all too common, being built into the Russian legal code under the pretense of countering extremism. That Russia is a persistent violator of religious freedom deserves greater scrutiny by the Biden administration, as well as the international religious freedom community.”
In recent years there have been a number of similar cases of persecution of Hindus in Russia.
In 2018, Shri Prakash Ji, a Russia-based Hindu leader, was harassed by a self-proclaimed “anti-cult” activist operating with the blessing of the Russian government. In 2016, yoga teacher Dmitri Ugay was detained by police in St. Petersburg for giving a talk about the philosophy of yoga at a public festival. Also in 2016, an ISKCON devotee was arrested under anti-missionary laws after distributing free copies of the Bhagavad Gita on the street.