Staunton, April 22 – Less than 48 hours after the Russian Supreme Court banned the activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, Russian officials in various parts of the country have launched “a wave of force” against that religious community, according to Yaroslav Sivulsky, a member of the denomination’s administrative center in Russia.
He told Vladimir Oyvin of the Portal-Credo religious affairs portal that the Jehovah’s Witnesses “will not be able to conduct our major activities” but that members of the group will “continue to meet in private homes, a serious limitation on [religious] freedom” (portal-credo.ru/site/?act=authority&id=2256
If there's one thing that I'm pleased with in the current situation,” he says, “it's that more and more people begin actively defending us. More and more experts, lawyers, journalists, even prominent Orthodox figures who never defended us, now do. In social networks common people talk about absurdity of the situation and even draw cartoons emphasizing this.”
“Other denominations write appeals to the President in our support. All this was unthinkable even six months ago,” Chivchalov continues.
“And this means that it won't be possible to jail everyone,” he says. “With the wave of indignation and support now rising, jailing the first 10 people will simply result in the fact that not almost everyone, but plainly everyone will speak out in our defense. Each prison where a Witness sits will have round-the-clock pickets and processions.”
“How will this affect the Kingdom work? You can think for yourself.”