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Jehovah’s Witnesses on the verge of being banned in Russia

“This kind of precedent is highly frightening and raises the question of who’s next”, says Evangelical-Baptist leader Vitaly Vlasenko.

AUTHOR William Yoder 31 MARCH 2017 11:07 h GMT+1
A view of Moscow, Russia. / Mariusz Lluzniak (Flickr, CC)

In a statement published by Moscow’s “Portal-Credo” news service on 24 March, Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko, the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists’ “Director for External Church Affairs” since 2006, brands the very recent de-legalisation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “unreasonable and dangerous step.”



“The Russian constitution guarantees every citizen the free profession of his/her faith. It does not state which faith is correct or incorrect. This kind of precedent is therefore highly frightening and raises the question of who’s next.”



He continued: The Ministry of Justice “is beginning to distinguish between proper and improper believers. What will prevent these same officials tomorrow from condemning, say, the Evangelical Christians-Baptists, (Orthodox) Old Believers or Catholics? I think this approach is fundamentally wrong.” 



Nearly all Protestant denominations have condemned the new legislation.



Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses number roughly 165.000. The Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists boasts less than 80.000 members.


 

 


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