The President talked about the appeals made to him by the leaders of Russia's leading faiths, which contained proposals for teaching the fundamentals of religious culture in schools, as well as the introduction of chaplains institute in the Armed Forces. Mr Medvedev said that he had decided to support these ideas.
The President also stressed the absolute importance of adhering to basic constitutional provisions concerning the equality of religious associations before the law and freedom of religion.
The President proposed to begin teaching in schools the fundamentals of religious culture, the history of religion and the foundations of secular ethics in various regions on an experimental basis. Students and their parents will be able to choose which subject to take: the fundamentals of Orthodox culture, Islam, Judaism or Buddhism. Dmitry Medvedev said that those who want to explore the diversity of Russian religious life will be able to take a general course on the history of Russia's major traditional religions. Only secular teachers will teach these subjects. Mr Medvedev also drew attention to the fact that for students who have no religious beliefs there will be an alternative available, the study of the foundations of secular ethics.
A 3-year experiment will be launched in 2010 in 18 regions of Russia. Families of students will be invited to explore one of three modules: the history and culture fundamentals of one of the traditional religions (Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism), the history and culture fundamentals of major world religions, or the foundations of ethics.