Orel Jehovah's Witness addresses court; awaits sentence Monday


Trial of S.V. Skrynnikov for committing crime specified in part 2, article 282 CC RF


Judge G.B. Noskov: Sergei Vladimirovich, you are permitted your final word. If you please.


Defendant S.V. Skrynnikov: And so the trial has ended at which we were able to meet, mutually reassure one another, and almost become relatives in these six months. I even do not want to part.


First, I would like to express thanks to the presiding judge, Gleb Borisovich Noskov, that he did not select for me a measure of restriction and I have all this time been with my family. Also, great thanks to the secretaries for their work. Special thanks to the prosecution, Mrs. Nadezhda Gennadievna Naumova, for the fact that she did not put any pressure on me and her questioning was conducted properly.


I want to thank my lawyers, Mrs. Irina Alexandrovna Krasnikova and Mr. Anton Nikolaevich Bogdanov, for their enormous work they have done. I acknowledge that I was very surprised when they secured the appearance of a specialist from Cheliabinsk.


Thank you to you, dear friends, who attended all sessions, even when it was known that they would be closed, in order to encourage me.


Thanks to Mama, who despite her health came to the sessions in order to support me.


Thank you to my beloved wife, who for 37 years now has supported me both in the joys and in the not particularly pleasant moments of my life.


Of course, the greatest thanks go to my beloved God Jehovah, who fills my heart with peace and joy. You will not believe it, but in my heart there is not any shadow of discontent or resentment with regard to the experiences happening for me; only joy and peace.


Today the biblical prophecy from the second letter to the Corinthians has come true: "We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." Here it speaks about how God's servants will be repressed and persecuted, but the work that the Lord Jesus has entrusted to them will not simply continue but it will gain momentum and expand.


For all who consider themselves followers of Christ, he commanded in Matthew 28.19-20: "And so go, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you every day until the end of the age."


The spirit of Jehovah continuously leads Christians and gives them strength beyond what is usual, helping them to fulfill the tasks commanded by God, despite the pressure they confront.


If we look to the past, then we will be convinced of this. In the thirties of the last century, God's servants faced an impossible task: to cover the whole Soviet Union with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. But since the work of proclamation is directed by Christ, then he turned the case so that the government of the U.S.S.R. itself sent, without charge, in the early 1950s, thousands of families of Jehovah's Witnesses throughout Siberia and the farthest corners of the country. A little less than 60 years passed, and we see: officials throughout Siberia are literally very amazed, seeing how the proclamation work has spread.


I liked how one analyst who was acquainted with the history of Jehovah's Witnesses in the U.S.S.R. expressed it: "Combating Jehovah's Witnesses is just like blowing on a dandelion—the greater the pressure on them, the farther and deeper their seeds fly."


At the present time, the situation of Jehovah's Witnesses is repeating itself. When proclaiming door to door, whom do we meet? Housewives and retirees. It is difficult to find workers, and difficult and sometimes impossible to get into secure buildings, prisons, courts, and penal colonies. But since the proclamation campaign is directed by Christ, he has "placed it in the mind and heart" of the Ministry of Justice to fulfill all of his will. In the end, with the very immediate and active participation in the proclamation campaign of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Ministry of Justice, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the prosecutor's office, and the security structure have facilitated matters so that from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, from Arkhangelsk to Crimea and Yalta, in families, labor collectives, prisons, courts, correctional colonies, the name of the Ruler of the Universe Jehovah God is being proclaimed. Jehovah's Witnesses could not even dream about such a widespread campaign. And today a new door is being opened for ministry in fundamentally new circumstances and new places. You know, for Jehovah's Witnesses preaching the gospel in new places is a great honor. And the prosecutor's office itself has provided such a possibility.


Let's look into the future. If in another ten years Jehovah's Witnesses are put into prisons and penal colonies, then there will be about 200 in each one. Imagine. That's four congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in one colony. The commanders of the colonies will beg the Ministry of Justice to set the Jehovah's Witnesses free. What do you think the majority of proclaimers will pray for? I think something like the following: "Lord, Soften the heart of the commander; let him not set me free; here I have so many sincere conversation partners and Bible studies."


If you look at the current situation from the point of view of a nonbelieving person, then you can be discouraged.


I have not killed anybody, I have not robbed anybody, I have not stolen anything from anybody, I have not even cursed anybody. This is attested by certificates from the village administration and from the police inspector. Nevertheless, the prosecution is asking for three years in the penal colony. It is the time to be discouraged. But I, as a Jehovah's Witness, look on this situation with the eyes of faith. If God permits that I am imprisoned, that means, I must consider the three years not as a sentence, but as a special assignment for ministry in a new place. Therefore I am not discouraged. On the contrary, this is a great privilege: to serve God in the place where there are now no Jehovah's Witnesses. And the news media have prepared this territory very well. It is time to plant.


God is one and the same both at liberty and in the colony. Therefore we are not abandoned. He will be with me everywhere if I remain faithful to him. My God considers my physical and spiritual health, and if he so pleases he will place it on the mind and heart of the presiding judge to support your request for the sentence, Mrs. Naumova. I await 1 April impatiently. In Hebrews 13.6 it says: "The Lord is my helper and I do not fear; what will man do to me?" Jehovah God himself will help me; whom should I fear? That's all.


Defense attorney I.A. Krasnikova: Your honor, we ask that the transcript of the final word be added to the materials of the case.


Judge G.B. Noskov: As you please. The court will retire to the conference room. The sentence will be announced on 1 April at 10:00 a.m. (tr. by PDS, posted 31 March 2019)

Russian original posed on website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, 29 March 2019

Background article;
Prosecution of Orel Jehovah's Witnesses continues
March 18, 2019

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