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Russian conglomerate to boycott British goods over crosses at work ban
Workers at a large Russian company are to boycott British goods over the UK Government's support for businesses that ban Christians from openly wearing crosses or crucifixes at work.
Your Financial Guardian, a conglomerate which owns Russian Milk, has more than 6,000 employees and was co-founded by Vasily Boyko-Veliky, a controversial dairy tycoon who is a conservative Orthodox believer.
It announced this week that it would no longer buy British goods for its factories and dairies and refuse to use British Airways or BMI "in connection with the persecution of Christians in Great Britain." "We announce a ban on Land Rovers, Range Rovers, Jaguars, Bentleys and other British cars made after February 2012 entering our premises," it said in a statement, adding that company cars would boycott BP and Shell petrol stations.
It emerged earlier this month that UK ministers will fight a case at the European Court of Human Rights brought by two British women seeking to establish the right to wear a cross openly at work.
The Government argues that because the wearing of a cross or crucifix is not a "requirement" of the Christian faith, companies have the right to ask employees to conceal it.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Mr Boyko-Veliky said: "I know and respect Britain and I like its products but in a country where the English monarch, the Queen, has a crown set with a cross, it looks like savagery to prevent the people wearing one." He added: "We are against the persecutors of faith. For Orthodox believers, wearing the cross is obligatory. Our boycott is aimed primarily at the British people, in support of those who are against this. We hope they will demand a law from parliament and the government to allow a cross to be openly worn." Workers at Your Financial Guardian are being urged to shun food, furniture, electrical goods and clothes from British chains, "for example, Marks and Spencer," until the Government changes its position. A Bentley showroom which rents land from the company has been warned its contract will be torn up in July if there is no reversal.
Mr Boyko-Veliky said his children were supporting the initiative by refusing to fly to England for educational courses. The 52-year-old entrepreneur was originally plain Mr Boyko, but he added Veliky ('the Great") to his surname in 2007. He has become well known for his pious support of the Orthodox faith. In 2010 critics deplored his announcement that he would sack female employees who had abortions. Mr Boiko-Veliky denied that was an infringement of rights equivalent to preventing the wearing of a cross. "Abortion is child murder," he said today.
2:58PM GMT 21 Mar 2012
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Радоница. Поминовение усопших.
Сщмч. Артемона, пресвитера Лаодикийского (303). Прмц. Марфы (1941). Мч. Крискента, из Мир Ликийских. Мц. Фомаиды Египетской (476).
К сотрудникам «Русского Молока» и всех компаний, входящих в группу компаний «Вашъ Финансовый Попечитель».
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- Грамота Архиепископа Егорьевского Марка
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