Head of Russian Jehovah's Witnesses cries for help



Unprecedented news has become the occasion for this appeal.  The Ministry of Justice has taken it upon itself to close and to declare criminal a whole religion—the Jehovah's Witnesses. A lawsuit has already been filed in the Supreme Court of Russia. They ask for the supreme measure of punishment for all 396 of our organizations, including our Administrative Center. We are talking about their liquidation and finding them to be extremist.


A special point is to confiscate from believers all of their houses of worship and other property. While the Ministry of Justice wants to do this immediately.


For 175 thousand adherents of our religion, they are possibly facing the most trying period of their life.


I recall the April night in 1951. At the time eight and a half thousand believers of our religion, that is, practically ALL, were deprived of their homes and taken to Siberia for permanent settlement. The life of thousands of believer was irreparably broken. Hundreds and hundreds passed through the camps. But they did not renounce their faith. And they did not become bitter. They always remained peaceful people, as Christ also commanded. Subsequently the state recognized us as victims of political repressions. And how blasphemously we again find ourselves in the position of dangerous criminals!


If the Ministry of Justice achieves its [goal], believers will face up to 10 years in prison! Recently, after the liquidation of a registered congregation in Taganrog, 16 of our brothers and sisters in the faith were sentenced to large fines and several even to a 5-year suspended prison term—just for joint reading of the Bible. A new indictment may lead them to real prison terms.


For what? What are these people guilty of? That they, as seems to somebody, study the Bible "incorrectly"? That they consider their faith the only truth? Or are they guilty of not resorting to violence, following the gospel command ment: "put the sword into its sheath"?


The accusation of Jehovah's Witnesses for extremism is absurd and savage.


We ask you who may influence the course of events, look the facts in the face objectively and impartially.


Finally, we are reminded of an episode described in the Acts of the Apostles. Christians were condemned on false charges. One of the judges of the Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, said of them to his colleagues: "Leave these people in peace; let them go. If their aim and their act is from man, it will die of itself; but if it is of God, you will not be able to destroy them. And you would turn out to be fighting against God himself!" (Acts 5:38,39


Vasily Kalin

Chairman of Governing Body

of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

(tr. by PDS, posted 23 March 2017)


Russian transcription posted on website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 21 March 2017

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