Court's ban of Bible defies logic and common sense


Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 18 August 2017


Late in the evening of 17 August 2017, the Vyborg city court announced a decision: to recognize as extremist material the translation of the Bible into modern Russian, which was seized from Jehovah's Witnesses at customs. All of the seized batch should be confiscated with the goal of subsequent destruction. This decision has not taken legal effect and will be appealed in the Leningrad provincial court.


Russia became the first European country to officially prohibit a translation of the Bible. The historic decision was issued by Judge Dmitry Grishin on a declaration of the prosecutor's office. During the many hours of sessions, Grishin was presented adequate opportunity to be persuaded that it is the Bible that is the object of the judicial investigation, a book which by law cannot be ruled to be extremist material. In the sessions, dozens of fragments were read from it, whole reams of various editions of the Bible were presented, and comparisons and contrasts of texts were conducted. Judge Grishin directly read dozens of texts from the Bible. The most authoritative specialists in the area of linguistics and religious studies where summoned to the trial from Moscow, who answered all questions of the sides and judge. Representatives of the prosecutor's office, who sought the ban of the Bible, were not able to identify a single biblical quotation that, in their opinion, could be considered extremist. Nevertheless, to universal amazement, the court made the decision to recognize the Bible as extremist material.


At the base of this lawsuit lies the expert conclusion of Natalia Kriukova, who did not introduce a single quotation from the text of the Bible but nevertheless came to the conclusion that this book is extremist material. The logic of this expert conclusion consists in the fact that this Bible is extremist material because it is used by Jehovah's Witnesses. The court ignored other scientific conclusions, expert analyses, and reviews existing in the case, which prove conclusively that Kriukova's conclusion is unscientific and contradictory, and that the Bible, which is the object of the lawsuit, really is the Bible. It is noteworthy that mathematics teacher Natalia Kriukova does not have education giving her the right to conduct this investigation.


Judge Dmitry Grishin is a kandidat of jurisprudence. When lawyers pointed out to him that this translation of the Bible is included in the catalogue of translations of the Bible published by the American Library of Congress, Grishin told the sides that he has engaged in his own scientific research for many days in the Library of Congress. Nevertheless, on 17 August 2017 Grishin issued a decision to prohibit the Bible, a decision which contradicts science, the law, and common sense. (tr. by PDS, posted 18 August 2017)

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