Former president of Russian Baptists sets Jehovah's Witnesses case in wider context


Portal-Credo.Ru, 27 March 2017


--Portal-Credo.Ru: How do you evaluate the very fact of the appearance of the lawsuit by the Ministry of Justice for the liquidation and effective prohibition of the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia?


--Pastor Yury Sipko: On 2017 Street. After a century of the rule of lawlessness. A Jubilee, so to speak. And jubilees are usually marked by fireworks. Fireworks from such vile acts are already starting.


Remember? The earth-shaking financial scam from Baikal Financial Group. The death of Magnitsky and promotion of all whom he exposed and who collaborated in his death. Victorious war with Georgia. Vile war with Ukraine. Numerous murders of political and public leaders and flight abroad, which nevertheless does not save from repression and death. Polonium as a means of settling accounts with political opponents.


The destruction of practically all rights advocacy organizations. Destruction of practically all nongovernmental public organizations. What is the condition of the True Orthodox Church?


The second decade is ending when lawlessness, falsehood, violence, bribery, and blackmail have seized all levels of the upper government. The concept of rights and liberties of man and citizen are ridiculed and betrayed. Amendments to the law on freedom of conscience, regulating evangelistic activity, rammed in one fell swoop into the "package of antiterrorism laws" and nobody flinched. Having equated evangelism, an essentially religious activity, with terrorism, the government declared war on believing people. Followers of Scientology have been banned, numerous local organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses have already been prohibited, and the lawsuit for banning the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) testifies to the loss of common sense by people of the government.  After all, this declaration of the Ministry of Justice was preceded by numerous criminal acts by people of the government when questionable literature was planted in Jehovah's Witnesses' meetings.


--Can there be a rationale for placing Witnesses' publications in the list of "extremist publications"?


--There is not a single instance when the activity of the JW organization was aimed at support of terrorism or was extremist. In our country, the JW have done nothing illegal and they have never even come close to the territory of politics.


--Is the situation in Russia really so hopeless?


--It is bitter to realize that the people of the government, who are called to observe and defend justice and law, create lawlessness, denying the most vital rights of citizens of Russia. Deputies and judges, mayors and ministers, as I have frequently heard with my own ears, lie publicly, without even blushing, and sell their honor for nothing. Depravity and permissiveness, in the absence of restraining forces, spill out the lowest passions. Such trends give evidence of the profound moral disintegration of the ruling elite. The process of violence to common sense only picks up speed.


There are no reasons to harbor illusions about a temporary clamp down, as if it originates from the difficult international circumstances and is applied as protection from "intrigues of enemies" and from multiplying terrorism and from the need to protect sovereignty. The best defense of sovereignty is absence of enemies. The best way to lose sovereignty is to engender enemies, internal and external.


--In your opinion, what kind of goals does the government pursue by means of discrimination against individual confessions?


--In pursuing and demeaning people, the government contributes to the destruction of the country. Pressure on religious organizations derives from animal fear living in the heart of people who commit lawlessness. This is the spiritual damage of power.


"Fear has big eyes." The roots of fear are extremely deep. They have a religious quality. Fear comes from the joining of power and force, unlimited violence, assimilated in the Horde, and the force of sacred power perceived as the cover of a higher order, which Orthodoxy became in Russia. Today nobody is able to separate this two-headed creature. One head will please the other because it depends on it completely. And similarly the other head, which depends of the first, will get everything it wants at its disposal.


The main goal of such a two-headed creature is to rule the world. Therefore the process of destroying freedom will continue. On all fronts. And nobody has a chance of sitting it out. Such are the prospects of our history.


Interview conducted by Vladimir Oivin.

(tr. by PDS, posted 31 March 2017)

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