The Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit to the Supreme Court of Russia on recognizing the religious organization "Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia" as extremist, which implies banning of its activities and liquidation. The report was published on March 16 on the official website of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.
The press service of the religious organization reported that they did not receive any documents related to the Justice Ministry's complaint. Representatives of the Witnesses believe that ban on the activities of their organization will seriously affect the freedom of religion in Russia and the work of about 400 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses and 2277 religious groups. They unite about 175 thousand followers of religion throughout the country.
Jehovah's Witnesses fear that tban on their activities will make regular prayers and joint reading of the Bible illegal and assure that their teaching is far from extremism. Member of the steering committee of the religious organization Yaroslav Sivulsky compared the situation with the persecution of the first Christians, and the chairman of the steering committee of the organization Vasily Kalin paralleled it with the story of his family:
'Unfortunately, for more than 100 years the authorities in Russia have been trampling on their own legislation, which guarantees this right to us. In Stalin's times, when I was a child, our whole family was exiled to Siberia just because we were Jehovah's Witnesses. It's insulting and sad that my children and grandchildren will have to face something like this,' Kalin concluded.
On December 28, the Ministry of Justice included the Oryol organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the list of banned organizations in Russia.
Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization with an administrative center in New York, some religious scholars consider it a sect.
Daniil Kuznetsov, «7x7»