Nationwide crack-down on Jehovah's Witnesses threatened


by Nikolai Akimov

Kaluga Nedelia, 26 February 2016


Late last year the prosecutor's office of the city of Kaluga conducted a verification of compliance with legislation on combating extremist activity of temporary structures—the stands with literature in the center of the city which have references to an extremist website on the Internet.


During the verification on one of these stands, literature of several titles that have been ruled to be extremist and included in the appropriate federal list was discovered. In addition, in one of the books there was a reference to the website of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which also has been ruled by court decision to be extremist.


Therefore the prosecutor's office imposed an administrative fine on the leader of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and warned him about the impermissibility of violating the federal law "On combating extremist activity" and threatened that in the event of violation of federal legislation stricter measures of prosecutorial reaction might be adopted against him


Kaluga's Jehovists have been handled more mildly. Recently the Belgorod provincial court, on a lawsuit from the prosecutor's office, found two of the largest local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist and adopted a decision to liquidate them. The supervisory agency says that representatives of this cult "have violated the integrity of the family," and they have distributed texts with citations to forbidden literature. The reason for liquidation was refusals of blood transfusions by devotees of the organization, distribution of extremist literature, and encouragement of the break up of families. All of this, in the opinion of the court, were manifestations of extremist activity.


The decision regarding liquidation of Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in two of the largest cities of the province—Belgorod and Stary Oskol—were made on the same day, 11 February 2016, and took effect immediately.


In the opinion of public leaders of the region, these are the last days for the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod province.


"What they managed to do in Belgorod is a precedent for all of Russia. People turn to us so that we will protect them from influences of those who literally burst into residences and apartments, trying to impose their understanding of the world and of God," Metropolitan of Belgorod and Stary Oskol Ioann reports.


A majority of religious studies scholars consider Jehovah's Witnesses to be a totalitarian sect of an anti-Christian orientation, whose teachings contain instructions and have a practice that can cause damage to the personality and health of a follower and his family, as well as to traditional national spirituality and state interests. In particular, the organization ignores state and personal holidays, speaks out against service of their members in the ranks of the armed forces, and inculcates in the mind of their members the refusal to defend one's country and one's people in the event of enemy attack.


If you have encountered the activity of the Jehovah's Witnesses or other totalitarian sects or destructive cults, turn to the Kaluga antisectarian consultation center. Its personnel engage in consulting and lecturing activity. (tr. by PDS, posted 26 February 2016)

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