Congress of Jehovah's Witnesses (organization has been found to be extremist; its activities in Russia are banned by the court). Photo by Yulia Kasheta for the Caucasian Knot.

22 July 2017, 23:08

Rights defenders see ROC's influence in judicial ban of Jehovah's Witnesses*

The ban of religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses by the Supreme Court (SC) of the Russian Federation has to do with the increased influence of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), headed by Patriarch Kirill, on the policy of Russian authorities, Lyudmila Alekseeva, the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), is convinced.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 20 the Russia's SC granted the claim of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on liquidation of 396 religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses.

"The Patriarch believes that if other religions are banned, everyone will probably join the ROC," Ms Alekseeva has suggested in her comment to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. "However, everyone will remain in his/her faith."

In her estimate, chances to achieve the cancellation of this Russia's SC judgement by Jehovah's Witnesses, in the foreseeable future, are almost zero.

Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the "Civil Assistance" Committee, also sees the ROC's influence on the state policy in the SC's ban of Jehovah's Witnesses.

"From the very beginning, I had no doubt that the SC would satisfy the MoJ's claim and declare Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization. Since Russia is an autocracy, then, everything should be unambiguous with the Christian church either. It is not surprising that Jehovah's Witnesses were banned as ROC's rivals," Ms Gannushkina told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"Such bans of entire confessions are monstrous; they lead to splitting the nation and, ultimately, may cause a collapse of the state," the rights defender is convinced.

*The organization has been found to be extremist; its activities in Russia are banned by the court.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Rustam Djalilov; Source: CK correspondent

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