INTERVIEW: EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN-BAPTIST PASTOR YURY SIPKO
by Vladimir Oivin
Portal-Credo.Ru, 24 April 2017
--Vladimir Oivin: How do you assess the decision of the Russian Supreme Court for banning the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses?
--Yury Sipko: If the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, then the fate of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses was decided beforehand. At least, I did not see in the actions of our authorities on this matter some kind of reasonable legal basis. All these actions are politicized, intended for the infringement of liberties, both religious, and political, and civil.
This decision is obviously illegal; it contradicts the constitutional norm, but fits the general trend: the ground is cleared, the territory of freedom is reduced to the limit, and only those who fit within we framework of the chekist [secret police] worldview have the right to life.
Nevertheless, it is very bitter. I am extremely distressed, no matter what.
--What awaits the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses in the near future?
--As people of faith they will live even in prison conditions, as it once was. Officially, of course, the judicial decision with confiscation of property, practically equating this organization with a terrorist one—this is a disgrace; it simply does not lend itself to either commentary or explanation.
But people in the future also will believe; for them all these persecutions are not terrible; they have profound convictions. And here the Russian authorities only gave themselves a good licking, discrediting the judicial and legal system. I am embarrassed for the country in which such hooligans rule.
--Can a mass emigration of believers now begin?
--Whoever understands and has such an opportunity has already emigrated long ago. But a mass exodus is a complex thing. I do not see the energy among our people that is enough for an exodus or a protest. There is only a long-dead legal consciousness, long-dead civic responsibility; there is a state of slavish obedience. And it is this state that is the cause of violence.
But this is only the "beginning of sorrows," and the "great tribulation" is still ahead.
(tr. by PDS, posted 28 April 2017)
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