The Russian Supreme Court recognised the religious organisation “Jehovah’s Witnesses” illegal, resulting in 170 thousand people are prisoners of conscience.
On 20 April the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation banned the pacifist religious organization “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, recognizing its “extremist”. More than 170 thousand Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia will not be able to come together without fear of imprisonment, and all the property that religious organizations will be confiscated. Russia is actually invalidated the whole religion. President trump should raise the question about the ban on the discussion with Putin to take to the prohibition of other diplomatic steps.
This event was the culmination of the few years that differed low level of repression by the authorities, using financial audits, planting of evidence, disruption of services and prosecution of local organizations. The prohibition of this religious denomination across the country brings to mind the scale of religious persecution in the Stalin era, when the Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of other religious associations EN masse put in cars for transportation of cattle and deported to Siberia.
This prohibition is based on the 2002 act, which allows broad interpretation under the guise of “extremism”, prohibits what in other countries is considered a classic freedom of speech — the propaganda of “exclusiveness, superiority or inferiority” of citizens on the basis of their attitude to religion. In 2015, the UN Committee on human rights has criticized this wording, calling it “vague and broad” and noted that “this law is increasingly being used to limit freedom of expression, including political dissent and religious freedom”.
The law on extremism, developed after the events of 11 September in response to the attacks of the believers in the state with violence, “has completed a full cycle” and changed the opposite way — it now allows the state to attack a religious group that is not making any non-violent action.
How did we come to this? For years of Board of Vladimir Putin’s religious discrimination and persecution intensified. He was arrogant using religion for the sake of his politics of nationalism, yet since 2000, when his government adopted a political document on national security, which includes a Chapter on “security in the sphere of spiritual life.” There is a word, warning that representatives of the “foreign sectarian communities, such as “Jehovah’s Witnesses”,… using religious cover,… form branched-driven structure through which collected socio-political, economic, military and other information about what is happening in Russia, are indoctrination of the citizens and incite separatist sentiments”.
Such paranoia and religious discrimination affected (although to a lesser extent) and representatives of other religious minorities, “non-traditionally Russian” Baptists, Lutherans, seventh day Adventist, Mormon and Pentecostal, and Orthodox “schismatics”. Got them and some Muslim groups, including followers of the late Turkish Islamic theologian said Nursi (Said Nursi).
Even Russia started a major international incident with India in 2012, when the court tried to find out whether or not to ban the book “Bhagavad-Gita as it is” (The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is), a sacred text, revered by the representatives of the International organization “Krishna Consciousness” as extremist. However, after the law began to be applied in relation to the Bible and quotations from the Koran, the Russian government immediately adopted an amendment banning extremist to recognize the Scriptures “traditional” Russian religions — Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
“Jehovah’s witnesses” to a much greater extent than any other religious minority, were under the gun of the Russian special services even in Soviet times. During the Second world war, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Soviet Union was less than two thousand, but the rapid growth in their numbers after the war, was summoned to the KGB paranoia — the secret service was worried about the influence and spread of this organization. In 2000 he published a book by Christopher Andrew (Andrew Christopher) and Vasily Mitrokhin, “the sword and Shield: the Mitrokhin Archive and the secret history of the KGB” (The Sword and The Shield, 2000) — a gripping story of how a secret dissident who worked in the archives of the KGB for 12 years, made notes on the most valuable classified documents and secretly carried them out of the archive building. The authors note that “the obsession with the KGB Jehovah’s witnesses were perhaps the most striking example of the lack of a sense of proportion in relation to the most insignificant forms of dissent”.
The same thing is happening today. But Washington is idle. It’s been two weeks, but the only reaction was “extreme concern” as expressed by the acting press Secretary of the Department of state in your email us news the online edition of U. S. News & World Report. Compare this with the reaction independent of the US Commission on international religious freedom, which denounced the ban, calling it “politicized attacks on a religious group,” or with the reaction of Angela Merkel (Angela Merkel), who bluntly told Putin about it. Not wanting to speak personally about very furious in the post-Soviet period of religious persecution, President trump and Vice-President Pens provide food for suspicion about their ties with Russia and caused frustration among those who value freedom of religion and speech. Trump can demonstrate that he owes nothing to Russia — it is necessary only to provide for “Jehovah’s Witnesses” the same pressure that he used to secure the release of the employee humanitarian Fund Aya Hijazi (Aya Hijazi).
The ban threatens “the freedom of the individual in the Russian Federation in General”, said in a joint statement by UN special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, freedom of Assembly and freedom of religion. The fact that Russia “uses the law on counteraction to extremism to limit freedom of opinion,… in relation to what is permitted by state… signifies a bleak future for the whole of religious freedom in Russia.” By entering the ban, said in his closing statement, the lawyer of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, “country successfully acquires 170 thousand prisoners of conscience”.