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Office of Public Information

World Headquarters of
Jehovahs Witnesses

Special

REPORT

Jehovah's Witnesses:
New Targets of Hatred in Russia

On April 20, 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled to ban
the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses countrywide. This action has prompted
a wave of oppression against a people known for peace.
"It is critical that Russia restores
the fundamental human right
to worship. Without such
action, things will only get
worse. What is happening to
Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia
if left uncheckedwill spread
to others."

David A. Semonian
International Spokesman for
Jehovah's Witnesses
CASES OF HARASSMENT & VIOLENCE
AGAINST JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

750%
Month before the Russia Supreme Court ruling (March 2017)
vs.
Month of the Russia Supreme Court ruling (April 2017)

60

March April
"House Torched As 'Acts Of Vandalism' Target
Jehovah's Witnesses In Russia"
RadioFreeEurope/
May 11, 2017
RadioLiberty

A GROWING CRISIS

" USCIRF Condemns Russian Supreme Court


Decision Banning the Jehovah's Witnesses"
April 20, 2017

"British Government 'alarmed'


at Russian ban on 'extremist'
"Jehovahs Witnesses Ban Jehovah's Witnesses"
April 22, 2017
Spells End for Russias Religious
Diversity" INDEPENDENT
April 24, 2017

"Why Putin's persecution of Jehovah's


Witnesses should worry us"
April 25, 2017
"Russia can't tell the difference
between Jehovah's Witnesses
and al-Qaeda"
April 28, 2017
"Russia bans the Jehovah's
Witnesses, just as the Soviet
Union did"
April 29, 2017
"If we just glance back through historythe history of persecution for
religious convictionsit always started with Jehovah's Witnesses and
then spread to everyone."
Vladimir V. Ryakhovskiy,

"It is disturbing that such attempts at "The discriminatory actions of the


thought control continue to be authorities cannot be explained,
forced on societies in the justified, or understood. These decisions
21st century. We all deserve better. and actions can only be feared.

Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, Orfalea Center Dr. Liudmyla Fylypovych, EASR

"These believers have nothing to do "Jehovah's Witnesses have been


wi th extremism. Yet, for r eas ons the ideal scapegoat because
passing understanding, the court Jehovah's Witnesses are active. But
declares believers to be extremists, just if Jehovah's Witnesses are extremists
like captured criminal terrorists . then I think we all are."

Dr. Ekaterina Elbakyan, MALSR Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt, former UN Special


Rapporteur

"Labeling Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist "Russia sadly appears to be on the verge


can do nothing to enhance Russia's of making the same sort of mistake
reputation as a civilized nation. Any regarding Jehovahs Witnesses that the
decision which is adverse to Jehovah's United States made back in the 1940s. This
Witnesses will affect others. initially led to horrifying physical violence.

Richard Clayton, Venice Commission Eric Rassbach, The Becket Fund for
Religious Liberty

"Perhaps I do not share the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I am in


favor of defending them because this is where the violation of human
rights begins."
Anatoly V. Pchelintsev, editor-in-chief of Religion and Law
JULY 17, 2017

Jehovah's Witnesses are


scheduled to appear before
the Supreme Court of the
Russian Federation on
July 17, 2017, to appeal its
decision.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Contact Information
Office of Public Information (OPI)
World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses:
opi@jw.org / 1-718-560-5600
To reach a spokesman, our representatives in Russia, or the
experts quoted in this report, please contact OPI.

Background Information (multiple languages)


Media & Academics: www.jw.org/en/news/releases/by-
region/russia/
Legal: www.jw.org/en/news/legal/by-region/russia/

Russian Legal Developments (Russian-language only)


www.jw-russia.org

Imagery Usage
High resolution imagery represented on the following pages
(including captions) may be downloaded for non-exclusive,
one-time use, if you have received this media kit directly from
OPI or a branch office of Jehovahs Witnesses. Although not
required, if you publish this imagery in connection with a story
or other content, you may credit, "Courtesy of Jehovah's
Witnesses." OPI retains all rights to the imagery; it may not be
distributed to other parties in any form or used for other
purposes without written permission.
Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a
peaceful Christian worship service in peaceful Christian worship service in
Moscow Moscow

Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a


peaceful Christian worship service in peaceful Christian worship service in
Moscow Moscow
Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a Caption: Jehovahs Witnesses attending a
peaceful Christian worship service in peaceful Christian worship service in
Moscow Moscow

Caption: Spokesman for Jehovah's Caption: Crowd gathers for Russia


Witnesses speaking to reporters outside of Supreme Court hearing, April 6, 2017
Russia Supreme Court building (Day 2)
Caption: Crowd gathers for Russia Caption: Russia Supreme Court chamber
Supreme Court hearing, April 7, 2017 where April hearing was held
(Day 3)

Caption: Russia Supreme Court chamber Caption: Kingdom Hall (a place of


where April hearing was held worship) of Jehovahs Witnesses in
Zheshart damaged by arson attack
Caption: Kingdom Hall (place of worship) Caption: Arson attack on a home belonging
of Jehovahs Witnesses vandalized in to a family of Jehovahs Witnesses in
Izhevsk, the capital of Udmurtia republic Lutsino, April 30, 2017

2017 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of


Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.