Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.


Will Jehovah’s Witnesses be banned in Russia?

Published time: August 11, 2010 05:43
Edited time: August 11, 2010 05:43

Jehovah’s Witnesses, known for their doomsday prophecies, are seen as an extremist cult by the Russian authorities. Banned in many countries, their activities could soon become illegal in Russia as well.

Since appearing in Russia in the early 1990s, Jehovah’s Witnesses have rapidly gained popularity. The organization says they have 200,000 members in the country, but they could soon be classed as criminals.

A high-profile case five years ago branded Jehovah’s Witnesses “an extremist organization” that incites religious hatred and breaks up families.

They were stripped of their Moscow registration, yet even though Jehovah’s Witnesses were able to re-register, authorities have issued over forty official warnings to them in the last three years.

Their faith doesn’t allow them to receive blood transfusions, and several have been tried for denying them to their children. Most notably last year, doctors in Russia’s far eastern city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky had to appeal to court to get permission for a blood transfusion for a six-year-old girl after she suffered serious head trauma. The court ruled in their favor and the doctors managed to save the child.

Some of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned for refusing to do their compulsory military service.

Critics of the group warn that the people they recruit into their community end up being brainwashed.

Oleg Zakharenkov’s wife changed completely after becoming a Jehovah's Witness.

“She became isolated. She began to disappear for days and give them all my money,” says Oleg.

Jehovah's Witnesses were founded in the US in the late 19th century. There are over seven million regular followers worldwide.

They say their unusual beliefs – such as refusing to vote or serve on juries – don't make them a dangerous cult:

“Our poor image comes from those in the media and the authorities who have no knowledge about us. When people meet us, they realize what good we do for society,” said Aleksandr Valevich.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are banned in China, parts of Africa and some former Soviet republics. As for Russia, some say it will be difficult to prove their guilt.

“Personally, I think Jehovah’s witnesses combine the worst features of an international corporation that exploits its own members, and a totalitarian state. But it’s hard to prove what current law they are breaking,” theologist Father Mikhail Plotnikov told RT.

Comments (20)


Alex Martinez 25.01.2014 00:12

Does a Republican vote democratic ? Does a communist support democracy? NO. So the same goes Jehovah's Witnesses VOTE for GOD'S KINGDOM with JESUS as KING. Blood Transfusions are NOT safe in this diseased world. Not ONLY that but the BIBLE does say NOT to USE blood to INGEST it or save it but to POUR it to the Ground. It in a sense goes back to God who CREATED it. The LIFE is IN the blood Acts 15:20.(Acts 15:28, 29) . . .For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to YOU, except these necessary things, 29 to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood

Anonymous user 10.07.2013 18:42

ECHR cont'd “and disproportionate to whatever legitimate aim was pursued.”

Anonymous user 10.07.2013 18:41

ECHR cont'd “in view of the lack of flexibility in the domestic law and

View all comments (20)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or



Show password


or Register

Request a new password


or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:


or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile



New password

Retype new password

Current password



Follow us

Follow us