Russia is a fascist state like its’ predecessors Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. Like Adolf Hitler in Germany, Putin is using the state “Orthodox Church” as a public relations front while he persecutes Christians and other religious organizations.
Russia Criminally Prosecutes Jehova’s Witnesses
With masks and rifles, police came to Anatoly Vilitkevich’s door in the early morning and made him pack a bag. He was wanted for religious extremism — as a Jehovah’s Witness.
“Forget it,” they told his wife, Alyona, taking away the couple’s tablet devices, computers and phones. “Go and find a new phone, a new tablet and a new husband.”
“The system sees them as a threat because they are organised and independent. One day they may seek power,” said a man identified as a Russian FSB secret service officer by Radio Liberty.
Sound’s eerily similar to Lenin. In 1918, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, under Lenin, implemented a policy of separation of Church and State, which meant that all Church property (including monasteries, charitable and social works and even liturgical items) was nationalized without compensation. Priests, monks and nuns (especially those who opposed these policies) were taken away to the Gulag and oftentimes executed.
“We don’t see any reasonable explanation for it,” said Yaroslav Sivulsky, a senior Jehovah’s Witnesses representative in Russia.
“But we do not forget the words of Christ: ‘Just as I have been persecuted, so will you be persecuted’. For us, that explains it.”
Alyona Vilitkevich, 35, said investigators classed their Bible readings and prayer groups as “extremist activity”.
Prosecutors are investigating at least 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses in 16 Russian regions on “extremism” criminal charges. Of these, 21 men and 1 woman are known to be in detention, with 3 more under house arrest and 27 under travel restrictions. If convicted, they could receive lengthy jail terms.
Various groups have been targeted under a 2016 anti-extremism law. An additional 2017 Supreme Court ruling targeted the Jehovah’s Witnesses specifically, ordering their dissolution in Russia.
They say they number nearly 172,000 in Russia, an Orthodox Christian country of 144 million.
“They are close to the people, they preach and promote their religion openly, so that makes for competition and rivalry with the Russian Orthodox Church,” said Maria Kravchenko, an expert at the SOVA Centre, a civil research group.
A senior Russian bishop, Hilarion Alfeyev, said Jehovah’s Witnesses “destroy people’s minds and destroy families”.
But he insisted the prosecutions were a judicial matter, not a religious one.
“The Church generally does not call for the prosecution of heretics, sectarians or dissidents,” he told television channel Russia 24 in April.
“Such a decision is made by the state, not on the basis of any doctrinal guidelines, but because the sect is engaged in extremist activities.”