Document: Russian foreign ministry letter to Jehovah's Witness believer


Jehovah's Witnesses, Monitoring news media, 26 February 2021

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Smolensk Square, building 32/34

Moscow 119200

Response to communication

20 February 2021


To: Irina Vladimirovna Yakku

Arkhangelsk Oblast

Primorskii District

[remainder of address illegible]


Esteemed Irina Vladimirovna


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation has reviewed your appeal regarding compliance with domestic legislation and international obligations of our country, in view of the decision finding the religious organization “Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia” to be extremist and, consequently, liquidating it.


The aforesaid measure was taken on 20 April 2017 and it was confirmed by an appellate determination on 17 July 2017 and left in effect by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, in response to a lawsuit by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, based on the results of necessary investigations in full compliance with the norms of domestic and international law. At the same time, the text of the decision maintains that during the consideration of the case there was no assessment either of the legality of the religious convictions of Jehovah’s Witnesses or of means of their expression, but only of specific illegal activities of the aforesaid organization.


In addition, the step taken did not restrict the right of citizens to freedom of religious confession, inasmuch as according to article 7 of the federal law “On freedom of conscience and religious associations,” the possibility of exercising such a right exists both through registered religious associations and also through groups of adherents of one or another religion that do not require registration. In other words, members of the liquidated organization may independently practice their religion, including within religious groups that do not require registration, provided that this is not connected with the conduct of extremist activity.


The aforementioned decisions involving the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses were taken in complete accordance with the international obligations of the Russian Federation in the sphere of civil rights.


[signed] R. Aliautdinov,

Director of the Department for Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights

(tr. by PDS, posted 26 February 2021)

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