Date:                             March 13, 2023


U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Hearing 

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Implications for Religious Freedom

Wednesday, March 15, 2023
10:30am-12:00pm ET
Virtual Hearing

Register Here

Please join the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for a virtual hearing on the Russian government’s religious freedom violations in Ukraine and Russia.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine a year ago, Russian forces have committed numerous religious freedom and other related human rights violations in Ukraine, including the killing and torture of religious leaders and the destruction of countless houses of worship. Russian officials have repeatedly turned to antisemitic rhetoric and Holocaust distortion in an effort to justify the country’s groundless invasion. In the areas of Ukraine that Russia has occupied since 2014, its de facto authorities and proxies have imposed draconian laws to suppress religious communities such as the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, predominantly Muslim Crimean Tatars and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Meanwhile, in Russia, the state has continued to prosecute an ever-growing list of religious groups as so-called “extremists” for their peaceful religious activities and launched a ruthless campaign to silence civil society and independent media.

Witnesses will identify Russia’s religious freedom violations, analyze the invasion’s impact on religious freedom and other related human rights, and discuss recommendations for U.S. policy toward Russia.

Opening Remarks

  • U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Ranking Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission
  • Nury Turkel, Chair, USCIRF
  • Abraham Cooper, Vice Chair USCIRF 
  • Sharon Kleinbaum, Commissioner, USCIRF
  • Dmytro Vovk, Visiting Associate Professor at Cardozo School of Law; member of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)’s Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief
  • Rachel Denber, Deputy Director, Europe and Central Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
  • Dennis Christensen, former religious prisoner of conscience imprisoned in Russia
  • Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi and President of the Conference of European Rabbis; Exiled Chief Rabbi of Moscow
  • Crimean Tatar activist
This hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the public, and the media. Members of the media should register online and can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions or to schedule an interview. The video recording of the hearing will be posted on the Commission website. For any additional questions, please contact Danielle Ashbahian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (202) 702-2778.