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  1. Нам с ребенком очень нравится готовиться к Вечери воспоминания смерти Иисуса Христа, читая и выполняя разные задания на закрепление материала. Надеюсь, что и вам это понравилось и пригодилось в прошлом году. В этом году она будет отмечаться 23 марта, и уже совсем скоро мы будем читать стихи, чтобы подготовить свое сердце к этому важному дню. Для наших детей я подобрала задания в соответствии со стихами на 2016 год. Последняя неделя земной жизни Иисуса для детей
  2. Свидетели Иеговы – международная христианская организация, основанная во второй половине XIX века. В России Свидетели Иеговы существуют уже более 100 лет (впервые были официально зарегистрированы в 1913 году), и на начало 2013 года насчитывают почти 170 000 человек. Руководящий Совет организации находится в Бруклине, США (в самих США проживает около 15% от общего числа Свидетелей Иеговы). Сегодня Свидетели Иеговы живут в 239 странах и территориях и насчитывают более 7,7 миллионов человек. В годы советской власти Свидетели Иеговы в СССР подвергались физическим и идеологическим гонениям по политическим мотивам. Однако и сегодня некоторые люди и организации намеренно пытаются очернять Свидетелей Иеговы и ограничивать их законную деятельность, зачастую распространяя недостоверную, преувеличенную и даже откровенно клеветническую информацию. Поэтому мы приглашаем Вас узнать, что думают о Свидетелях Иеговы непредвзятые и компетентные специалисты. На этой странице приводятся мнения об организации «Свидетели Иеговы» авторитетных, признанных российских учёных – специалистов по религиоведению, демографии, психиатрии и психологии, медицине, юриспруденции и филологии, большинство из которых посвятили не одно десятилетие изучению и совершенствованию соответствующей области науки. Приводимые здесь мнения основаны не на личных взглядах и предпочтениях, а на результатах глубоких научных исследований, ссылки на которые приводятся ниже. СОДЕРЖАНИЕ 1 Религиоведы о Свидетелях Иеговы в целом >> Свидетели Иеговы – тоталитарная секта или нормальная религиозная организация? 2 О влиянии на семейные ценности >> Свидетели Иеговы – разрушители семей, или же, наоборот, семьи Свидетелей Иеговы более крепкие? 3 О влиянии на психическое и эмоциональное здоровье >> Как пребывание в организации Свидетелей Иеговы сказывается на личности человека? 4 Об отношении к лечению и переливанию крови >> Что думают наиболее авторитетные учёные об отказе Свидетелей Иеговы от переливания крови? 5 О публикациях Свидетелей Иеговы >> Является ли литература Свидетелей Иеговы экстремистской и разжигает ли она религиозную вражду? РЕЛИГИОВЕДЫ О СВИДЕТЕЛЯХ ИЕГОВЫ В ЦЕЛОМ Что в целом можно сказать об этой религии и тех, кто её исповедует? Являются ли Свидетели Иеговы традиционной религией, полноценными членами общества или же «вредоносной сектой», «экстремистской организацией», представляющей опасность для окружающих? Какие нормы и ценности они исповедуют? Как они относятся к окружающим и как следует относиться к ним? Религиовед Гордиенко Николай Семёнович · Доктор философских наук, профессор· Действительный член Международной академии информатизации (ЮНЕСКО)· Председатель Санкт-Петербургского городского отделения Российского объединения исследователей религии («РОИР») Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы: · Книга «Российские Свидетели Иеговы: история и современность». 2002.· «Экспертное заключение по религиозной организации "Свидетели Иеговы"» от 06.04.1998.· «Религиоведческий анализ экспертного заключения... Института развития личности». 1998.Показать подробнее... Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Свидетели Иеговы – лояльные граждане России, которым органически присуще законопослушание, повиновение властям, высокая нравственность, здоровый образ жизни, чтоотвечает коренным интересам личности и общества. Они культивируют доброжелательное отношение не только к единоверцам, но и к остальным согражданам... Таким образом,объединение Свидетелей Иеговы – нормальная религиозная организация, и относиться к ней следует так же терпимо, в духе конституционных гарантий свободы совести, как и к другим конфессиям и деноминациям, легально существующим в России и действующим в рамках Конституции Российской Федерации» («Российские Свидетели Иеговы: история и современность»)· «Взгляды, проповедуемые членами религиозной организации «Свидетели Иеговы», исключают какие-либо аморальные, противоправные и тем более насильственные действия против любых социальных групп. Скорее эти взгляды могут привести к желанию быть терпимым к другим людям, независимо от социальной, расовой, национальной и религиозной принадлежности» («Экспертное заключение...», стр. 17)· «В... идеях и принципах вероучения Свидетелей Иеговы нет ничего такого, что можно было бы охарактеризовать как предосудительное с религиоведческой точки зрения. Налицо обычная религиозная система восприятия мира, имеющая... свою специфику, но не содержащая в себе ничего асоциального или аморального» («Религиоведческий анализ...») Религиовед Иваненко Сергей Игоревич · Доктор философских наук· Член Московского городского отделения Объединения исследователей религии· Член Международной ассоциации религиозной свободы («МАРС») Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы: · Книга «О людях, никогда не расстающихся с Библией». 1999.· Книга «Свидетели Иеговы – традиционная для России религиозная организация». 2002.· Защитил докторскую диссертацию на тему «Эволюция идеологии и деятельности религиозной организации Свидетелей Иеговы в России (историко-философский анализ)». 2001.Показать больше и подробнее... Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «О Свидетелях Иеговы средства массовой информации редко сообщают нейтральную и объективную информацию. Как правило, их либо резко и несправедливо критикуют, либо пишут о них восторженно. Но эти восторги зачастую вызваны тем, что журналисты ожидали встретить нечто ужасное, однако, столкнувшись со Свидетелями Иеговы, обнаружили, что это нормальные люди. [...] Живя в соответствии с библейскими принципами, они – надежные работники, хорошие соседи, заботливые родители... Прислушаться к их проповеди или нет – дело совести и свободного выбора каждого человека» («О людях, никогда не расстающихся с Библией», стр. 238, 240)· «Свидетели Иеговы – это наши сограждане, которые имеют право верить так, как они верят, и проповедовать те ценности, которые они считают истинными. Как показывает жизнь, абсолютное большинство Свидетелей Иеговы законопослушны, стремятся жить в соответствии с нравственными нормами, изложенными в Библии. Они отвергают насилие, добросовестно платят налоги, ценят мир в семье, обществе и государстве, признают право других людей иметь собственные убеждения. Уверен, что этого вполне достаточно, чтобы не считать Свидетелей Иеговы гражданами «второго сорта», а их религиозную организацию – вредоносной «сектой». Общаясь с верующими и изучая религиозную литературу Свидетелей Иеговы, я на собственном опыте убедился, что от них не исходит никакой угрозы» («Свидетели Иеговы – традиционная для России религиозная организация») Религиовед Артемьев Артур Игоревич · Доктор философских наук, профессор· Автор более 250 научных трудов Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы: · Книга «Свидетели Иеговы Казахстана и Средней Азии: историко-религиеведческий анализ». 2010.Показать подробнее... Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «В этом отношении [приносят ли Свидетели Иеговы вред обществу] интересен ещё и опрос 146 000 Свидетелей Иеговы, проведённый в Германии в 1994 году. [...] Многие из них признали, что им пришлось бороться с серьёзными недостатками, чтобы стать Свидетелями. Например, 30 060 человек бросили курить или принимать наркотики; 1 437 перестали играть в азартные игры; 4 362 исправили своё насильственное или преступное поведение; 11 149 избавились от таких черт, как зависть или ненависть; и 12 820 восстановили мир и покой в семье. Таким образом, Свидетели Иеговы осуществляют значительный вклад в борьбу с социальными проблемами общества» («Свидетели Иеговы Казахстана и Средней Азии...», стр. 333–334)· «Ответ может быть только однозначный: ни идеология, ни культовая практика, ни применяемые Свидетелями Иеговы формы и методы распространения веры не представляют опасности для окружающих и общества в целом. Другое дело: кому-то нравится это вероучение, а кому-то нет. Но это уже из области личных убеждений и симпатий. Пора и в такой области, как религия, научиться, наконец, уважать взгляды друг друга» (там же, стр. 336) Историк Одинцов (Советов) Михаил Иванович >> · Доктор исторических наук, профессор· Президент Российского объединения исследователей религии («РОИР»)· Начальник Отдела по религиозным вопросам и культурным правам Аппарата Уполномоченного по правам человека в РФ Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы: · «Совет министров постановляет: "выселить навечно!"». Сборник документов и материалов о Свидетелях Иеговы в Советском Союзе (1951–1985). 2002.· Статья «Свидетели Иеговы в России: от преследований к признанию». 2004.Показать подробнее... Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Первое историческое наименование последователей этого учения – Исследователи Библии... С 1931 года Исследователи Библии стали именоваться Свидетелями Иеговы и это наименование сохранили до сего времени. За свою 130-летнюю историю организация Свидетелей Иеговы из небольшого кружка единомышленников превратилась в международную организацию. [...] В России история Свидетелей Иеговы насчитывает немногим более ста лет... Интерес к деятельности... Исследователей Библии проявился в России еще в конце 80-х годов ХIХ столетия. [...] Лишь в марте 1991 года власти наконец-то признали право Свидетелей Иеговы на легальный статус... С этого времени Свидетели Иеговы действуют в России в качестве признаваемой законом организации» («Свидетели Иеговы в России: от преследований к признанию») В цитируемой статье автор детально рассматривает историю и причины идеологических гонений на Свидетелей Иеговы в годы советской власти, которые заключались в антирелигиозной политике власти того времени. Прочитать всю статью можноздесь. О ВЛИЯНИИ НА СЕМЕЙНЫЕ ЦЕННОСТИ Свидетели Иеговы высоко ценят семейные ценности и стараются укреплять свою семью, поскольку этому их учит Библия. Свидетели следуют библейскому принципу: «Если же кто не заботится о нуждах близких, и особенно своих домашних, то он отрёкся от веры и хуже неверующего» (1 Тимофею 5:8). Под заботой о домашних они понимают не только заботу об их физических, но также и о духовных и эмоциональных потребностях. Это не означает, что все семьи Свидетелей Иеговы безупречны, однако они в целом более крепкие, даже если только один из супругов является членом этой организации. Ведущий российский специалист по демографии Антонов Анатолий Иванович >> · Доктор философских наук, профессор· Академик-секретарь Международной Академии Прогнозирования· Заведующий кафедрой социологии семьи и демографии социологического факультета МГУ Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Научное заключение по результатам социологического исследования религиозной общины Свидетелей Иеговы г. Москвы». 2000. Совместно с к.ф.н. Медковым В.М. Перепечатано на jw-media.org Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Анализ данных опроса показывает отсутствие какого-либо негативного воздействия вероучения и религиозной деятельности Свидетелей Иеговы на внутрисемейные отношения, на взаимоотношения мужей и жен, родителей и детей. Практически по всем аспектам общения в сфере брака и семьи обнаружено положительное влияние принадлежности к Свидетелям Иеговы, а также благотворное по своему нравственному и гуманистическому значению «залечивание» душевных ран тех, кто столкнулся с несчастными последствиями глобального краха института семьи. [...] На примере... Свидетелей Иеговы видна важная роль религии в деле укрепления социального института семьи с несколькими детьми»(«Научное заключение...»)· «Крайне мал процент тех [Свидетелей Иеговы], у кого брак распался после прихода в общину... – 6%. [...] Лишь 4 респондента из 510 считают несогласие супруга со своими убеждениями достаточным основанием для развода! [...] По всем применённым в данном исследовании показателям фамилизма их значения [у Свидетелей Иеговы] оказались выше, чем в других... опросах [не-Свидетелей] в Москве и других регионах страны» («Научное заключение...») Надо отметить, что цифра 6% разводов включает в себя и те браки, где лишь один из супругов – Свидетель Иеговы. В то же время процент разводов среди не-Свидетелей в России чрезвычайно высок: в том же 2000 году на каждые 100 регистрируемых браков приходилось 70 разводов (данные ГосКомСтата) О ВЛИЯНИИ НА ПСИХИЧЕСКОЕ И ЭМОЦИОНАЛЬНОЕ ЗДОРОВЬЕ Как пребывание в организации сказывается на человеке: помогает ему улучшаться и вырабатывать положительные качества или делает его «фанатиком»? Как влияет на членов организации то, что они строго придерживаются библейских норм морали и поклонения? Психиатр Каган Виктор Ефимович · Доктор медицинских наук (медицинская психология, психиатрия), профессор· Врач-психиатр высшей категории· Президент Санкт-Петербургской Ассоциации гуманистической психологии Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Медико-психологическая экспертиза религиозной деятельности: Свидетели Иеговы». 1998. Опубликована в «Независимом психиатрическом журнале», 1999, №1, стр. 41–50; перепечатана на jw-media.org Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Среди обследованных [Свидетелей Иеговы] преобладают... спокойные, эмоционально сдержанные, осмотрительные в контактах, склонные к самоанализу, заранее планирующие и обдумывающие свои действия, любящие порядок, серьёзно относящиеся к принятию решений, высоко ценящие нравственные нормы... [Исследование] позволяет отвергнуть предположение о деструктивном влиянии организации Свидетелей Иеговы на структуру личности её членов. [...] Выявлено позитивное влияние пребывания в организации на внутриличностные установки, характеризующие социально значимые сферы личностных отношений и психологический баланс личности» («Независимый психиатрический журнал», 1999, №1, стр. 50) Заключение Экспертного совета при Министерстве Юстиции РФ от 15.04.1999 · Выполнено Экспертным советом для проведения государственной религиоведческой экспертизы при Министерстве юстиции РФ · На фото: председатель Экспертного совета Мчедлов Михаил Петрович (1928–2007), доктор философских наук, профессор, заслуженный деятель науки РФ, директор Исследовательского центра «Религия в современном обществе» Института социологии РАН, автор около 350 работ Выводы:· «Нет оснований для утверждения, что предусмотренные вероучением «Свидетелей Иеговы» ограничения и запреты представляют угрозу психическому здоровью и нравственности участников и последователей данной организации» (стр. 3) ОБ ОТНОШЕНИИ К ЛЕЧЕНИЮ И ПЕРЕЛИВАНИЮ КРОВИ Свидетели Иеговы считают, что жизнь – это дар Бога, и относятся к ней соответственно. Они ведут здоровый образ жизни, избегают вредных привычек и обращаются к врачам, когда это необходимо. Пребывание в организации статистически сказывается на здоровье её членов однозначно положительно. В России, где ежегодно 300 000 человек умирают от курения, один только отказ Свидетелей Иеговы от этой привычки ежегодно приводит к буквальному спасению сотен жизней. Такие же плоды даёт их отказ от наркотиков и пьянства. Следуя библейскому повелению «воздерживаться от... крови» (Деяния 15:20), Свидетели Иеговы по всему миру отказываются от неправильного употребления крови, в том числе её переливания (подробнее об этой позиции можно узнать здесь). Является ли такая позиция неразумной и представляет ли опасность для общества? Как относятся к Свидетелям Иеговы ведущие специалисты России по переливанию крови? Принесла ли такая позиция какую-либо пользу другим? Академик РАМН Воробьёв Андрей Иванович >> · Доктор медицинских наук, профессор· Действующий академик РАН (Российской Академии наук) и РАМН (Российской Академии Медицинских Наук)· Директор Гематологического научного центра РАМН Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· Ответ на запрос адвоката А.Е. Леонтьева о возможности лечения Свидетелей Иеговы без применения крови. 29.03.2002. Перепечатано на jhwww.narod.ru Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Позиция Свидетелей Иеговы, которые соглашаются на любые медицинские вмешательства... вместо донорской крови и её основных компонентов... не может трактоваться как отказ от медицинской помощи в целом и тем более как самоубийство, и эта позиция в целом не противоречит современным научным достижениям» (1999; цитировался в журнале «Религия и право», 2004, №2)· «Не надо забывать, что сотни тысяч людей погибли в результате переливаний крови от гепатитов, СПИДа и других осложнений. Исчерпывается ли этим вирусная опасность переливаний крови? На этот счёт ясности нет. Именно эти факты и позиция Свидетелей Иеговы побудили врачей провести в РФ в период 1997–2002 годов десятки научно-практических конференций и семинаров по лечению острой массивной кровопотери с использованием вместо донорской крови её препаратов и кровезаменителей. Это привело к снижению смертности родильниц в нашей стране на 34%. [...] В 1999–2000 годах снижение смертности родильниц было единственным положительным сдвигом в здравоохранении России, ироль Свидетелей Иеговы в этом важнейшем позитивном сдвиге забывать не следует» (Ответ на запрос адвоката...) Академик Зильбер Анатолий Петрович · Доктор медицинских наук, профессор· Действительный член Академии медико-технических наук· Главный анестезиолог-реаниматолог Минздравсоцразвития Республики Карелия Показать больше... Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы: · «Кровопотеря и гемотрансфузия. Принципы и методы бескровной хирургии», глава «Интенсивная терапия кровопотери у Свидетелей Иеговы». 1999. Скачать можно здесь, формат PDF· Доклад «Этические и юридические проблемы гемотрансфузиологии». 1999.Показать подробнее... Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Свидетели Иеговы оказались полезными для медицины [...] Они... заставили врачей пересмотреть эффективность гемотрансфузии, побудили к поиску альтернативных методов и, наконец, усилили внимание к правам больных. Таким образом, перефразируя Вольтера, который... записал – «Если бы Бога не существовало, его следовало бы выдумать», я бы сказал – «Если бы Свидетелей Иеговы не существовало, их надо было бы выдумать», чтобы мы быстрее получили правильное представление об острой кровопотере и роли гемотрансфузии» (Доклад «Этические и юридические проблемы гемотрансфузиологии»)· «[Свидетели Иеговы] нормально относятся ко всем современным методам диагностики и лечения, включая трансплантацию органов, и лишь категорически отказываются от гемотрансфузии [...] При этом Свидетели Иеговы отнюдь не самоубийцы, не психопаты: они просят использовать для их лечения и тем более – спасения жизни – любые методы лечения, включая анестезию, интенсивную терапию, реанимацию, трансфузию самых различных препаратов, но только не кровь или её компоненты» («Кровопотеря и гемотрансфузия. Принципы и методы бескровной хирургии», стр. 72) Академик РАМН Калнберз Виктор Константинович >> · Доктор медицинских наук, профессор· Академик РАМН (Российской академии медицинских наук); академик Латвийской академии наук· Почётный член научных обществ травматологов-ортопедов многих стран, в т. ч. России Показать больше... Где выражал мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· Выступление на судебном заседании по делу Свидетелей Иеговы г. Москвы 26.02.1999. Стенограмма здесь Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «К сожалению... я больше видел смертей от переливания крови, чем смертей от не переливания крови... Думаю, что хирургия нового тысячелетия – это будет сберегательная хирургия. [...] У меня в моей клинике были пациенты – Свидетели Иеговы, и я отношусь очень корректно к [их] взглядам и с большим уважением, также как с большим уважением отношусь к правам человека вообще... Я категорически против [негативной] оценки этих взглядов... В плане переливания крови, я вижу совпадение [с ними] своих взглядов, которые выработались у меня на основе... опыта своего и моих коллег на протяжении полвека» (Выступление на судебном заседании...) Доктор медицинских наук Слепушкин Виталий Дмитриевич · Доктор медицинских наук, профессор· Заведующий кафедрой анестезиологии и реаниматологии Северо-Осетинской государственной медицинской академии· Заслуженный деятель науки РФ Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· Статья «Свидетели Иеговы и переливание крови». Опубликована в журнале «Религия и право», 2004, №2; электронная версия на rlinfo.ru· Интервью о переливании крови. 2011. Опубликовано на portal-credo.ru Мнение о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Я человек нерелигиозный, не придерживаюсь никакой религии, а придерживаюсь научных фактов. А научные факты на сегодняшний день всё больше и больше говорят о нежелательности переливания крови. [...] Исходя из моей многолетней практики – я конкретно занимаюсь этой проблемой с 1991 года – я не встретил ни одного случая, когда в обязательном порядке нужно было переливание крови» (Интервью portal-credo.ru)· «Свидетели Иеговы были инициаторами и спонсировали научные исследования по препаратам, которые стимулируют образование собственной крови» (Интервью portal-credo.ru)· «Нередко критики Свидетелей Иеговы имеют очень упрощенный и тенденциозный подход к их религиозным взглядам в отношении медицинского лечения, что искажает реальную картину. Свидетели Иеговы не практикуют так называемого «исцеления верой». Они стремятся, реализуя свои права пациентов, получить качественную медицинскую помощь и соглашаются на все многочисленные виды медицинского вмешательства... за исключением одного – переливания донорской крови или четырех её основных компонентов [...] Свидетели Иеговы не хотят идти против своей обученной по Библии совести, против Бога, отношениями с которым очень дорожат. Для них главное – мнение Бога, а не людей. Поэтому они дорожат своим здоровьем и жизнью, которые стараются сохранять теми путями, которые не нарушают их личные отношения с Богом [...] Я полагаю, что не дело врачей вмешиваться в чисто религиозную сферу и личные убеждения людей. Надо принимать их как данность и с уважением относиться к личности человека и его ценностям, используя свои профессиональные возможности, чтобы оказывать квалифицированную медицинскую помощь всем категориям людей, которые имеют законное право на самоопределение и выбор вида медицинского лечения» («Свидетели Иеговы и переливание крови») О ПУБЛИКАЦИЯХ СВИДЕТЕЛЕЙ ИЕГОВЫ Публикации Свидетелей Иеговы широко известны по всему миру. Суммарный годовой тираж журналов «Сторожевая башня» и «Пробудитесь!» превышает миллиард экземпляров; кроме этого, издаются миллионы книг, брошюр, трактатов, а также видеофильмов. Оказывает ли чтение такой литературы отрицательное воздействие на отношение человека к государству, обществу и окружающим? Филолог Баранов Анатолий Николаевич >> · Доктор филологических наук, профессор· Заведующий отделом экспериментальной лексикографии Института русского языка им. В.В. Винорадова РАН (Российской Академии наук)· Aвтор более 150 научных работ (стаж работы по специальности 29 лет) Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Независимая экспертиза в рамках иска прокуратуры Краснодара о признании материалов Свидетелей Иеговы экстремистскими». 2009. Перепечатана на xeno.sova-center.ru Выводы:· «Проведённое исследование спорных фрагментов [публикаций Свидетелей Иеговы] показывает, что в них отсутствуют грамматические и лексические формы, связанные с передачей... призыва, [направленного на возбуждение ненависти и вражды, в частности, призывов к осуществлению насильственных или дискриминирующих действий по отношению к лицам, объединённым по признаку национальной, социальной, конфессиональной, расовой принадлежности]... Отсутствует информация, способная возбудить ненависть или вражду, а также унизить человека или группу лиц по признакам отношения к религии, национальности, расе и другим признакам» («Независимая экспертиза...») Психолог Наговицын Алексей Евгеньевич · Доктор философских наук, кандидат психологических наук· Заведующий кафедрой этнопсихологии и психологических проблем поликультурного образования Московского государственного психолого-педагогического университета· Профессор Московского Психолого-Социального Института, профессор Московского Института региональных и национальных отношений Некоторые из публикаций о Свидетелях Иеговы:· «Итоговое заключение по экспертной оценке (на Заключение судебно-экспертной комиссии по результатам судебной комплексной психолого-лингвистической религиоведческой экспертизы от 04.05.2009... на основании определения Горно-Алтайского городского суда)». 09.06.2009. Перепечатана на jw-russia.org, формат PDF Выводы:· «Представленная литература [Свидетелей Иеговы] не содержит признаков возбуждения религиозной розни. [...] Отсутствуют признаки исключительности и превосходства либо неполноценности человека по принципу религиозной принадлежности или отношения к религии. [...] Отсутствуют также признаки нарушения прав, свобод и законных интересов человека и гражданина в зависимости от его социальной, расовой, национальной, религиозной или языковой принадлежности или отношения к религии. [...] В числе программных идей, декларируемых в представленной литературе, является любовь к ближнему. [...] Содержатся призывы к нравственной и физической чистоте, чистоте в мыслях и чистоте в речи, отрицание насилия как способа поведения» («Итоговое заключение...») «Экспертное заключение на публикации религиозного объединения Свидетелей Иеговы» от 20.03.1998 · Выполнено Центром религиоведческой и правовой экспертизы Института религии и права · На фото: член экспертной группы Пчелинцев Анатолий Васильевич, кандидат юридических наук, директор Института религии и права, сопредседатель Славянского правового центра («СПЦ»), член Экспертно-консультативного совета Комитета Государственной Думы РФ по делам общественных объединений и религиозных организаций, главный редактор журнала «Религия и право», почётный адвокат России >> Показать больше... Выводы:· «Содержание... печатных изданий и литературы религиозного объединения Свидетелей Иеговы не направлено на подрыв безопасности государства и нарушение целостности Российской Федерации, не содержит пропаганды войны, разжигания социальной, расовой, национальной и религиозной розни... [В публикациях] не содержится призывов к разрушению семьи, их содержание не представляет угрозы для нравственности и здоровья граждан, в том числе и позиция Свидетелей Иеговы по вопросу отказа по религиозным мотивам от переливания крови. Отказ от переливания крови является правом гражданина или его законного представителя и поэтому не должен рассматриваться как отказ от медицинской помощи...В печатных изданиях и литературе Свидетелей Иеговы не содержится пропаганды, побуждающей к посягательству на личность, права и свободы граждан, к отказу от исполнения установленных законом гражданских обязанностей и получения обязательного общего образования, а также к совершению иных противоправных действий» (стр. 9) ЧТО ГОВОРЯТ ОТЕЧЕСТВЕННЫЕ УЧЁНЫЕ О СВИДЕТЕЛЯХ ИЕГОВЫ
  3. Президент РФ В.Путин подписал закон, разрешающий проводить религиозные обряды и церемонии без уведомления местных властей в специальных и жилых помещениях, местах паломничества и на кладбищах. ГД определила список мест, где можно проводить религиозные обряды без разрешения властейИнициатива разработана во исполнение решения Конституционного суда от декабря 2012 года. Тогда, рассматривая иск "Свидетелей Иеговы", суд признал неконституционным распространение правового режима митингов и шествий на любые публичные религиозные мероприятия. КС счел неправильным, что религиозные собрания, проводимые в нежилых помещениях, относятся к той же категории, что и крестный ход или публичное богослужение на городской площади.Принятый закон разрешает беспрепятственное проведение богослужений, религиозных обрядов и церемоний в культовых помещениях, зданиях и сооружениях, а также на земельных участках, принадлежащих религиозным организациям или ими арендуемых. Без согласования с властями религиозные обряды можно будет проводить в местах паломничества, на кладбищах и в крематориях, а также в жилых помещениях. Свидетели Иеговы в России
  4. THEY ARRESTED THE BIBLE On 15 March, a court is supposed to decide what to do with Jehovah's Witnesses' books impounded by Russian customs by Irina Lagunina Radio Liberty, 6 March 2016 Persecution of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia proceeds with such consistency and geographic scope that the campaign already seriously violates the right to freedom of religious confession, that is, the constitution of the Russian federation. In March of last year Russian customs impounded 4000 copies of the Bible, including an 1881 copy of the Bible in Ossetian—the only complete religious book in the language, which UNESCO placed in the endangered category. In November, Vyborg customs impounded yet another batch of literature. This time into the category of books, impounded "on suspicion that they may contain extremism," fell a batch of Bibles in the official translation of the Russian Orthodox Church (Synodal edition) and a batch of the "Cognitive Bible." On 15 March, a court is supposed to evaluate the suspicion of the prosecutor's office of the extremist character of this literature. And on 24 March the Supreme Court of the Russian federation is scheduled to review an appeal of a decision of the Tiumen provincial court liquidating the local organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and finding it "extremist." Further for review of the Supreme Court of the RF is an appeal against the closing of local organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Stary Oskol in Belgorod province (10 February) and in Belgorod (11 February). A court of the Jewish autonomous province is supposed to respond to a complaint against a police disruption of worship services in Birobidzhan. The services were disrupted in January of this year, but the court of Birobidzhan refused to consider this case. "In principle, liquidation and prohibition of a registered organization does not mean, according to Russian legislation, a prohibition on confessing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. This is a constitutional right, which applies to everybody, and anyone may individually or jointly with others confess any religion, spread it, and have religious convictions. But nevertheless, liquidation and prohibiting of a legal entity is a serious restriction of the rights of believers," says Ivan Belenko, a representative of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. Russian television calls Jehovah's Witnesses a "sect"—with a negative connotation of the word taken from soviet times—indignant at the fact that the world religious society of many millions includes in its ranks children and it warns that "everything begins with an innocent question": "Do you read the Bible?" A campaign of preaching against this religious doctrine has been launched on the Russian Internet. Agencies of the state use for restricting or closing local organizations the federal list of extremist literature and the law "On combating extremist activity." The United Nations Committee for Human Rights in comments in the seventh periodic report on the Russian federation on 25 April of this year issued the following conclusion: "The committee is concerned as before . . . by the fact that in accordance with vague and flexible definitions of the term 'extremist activity,' provided in the federal law 'On combating extremist activity,' there is not required the presence of some kind of manifestation of force or hatred and that this law does not contain clear or specific criteria on the basis of which some or another materials may be categorized as extremist. The committee expresses its concern about numerous reports that this law is more and more often being used for restricting freedom of expression of opinion, including political protest, and freedom of religion, being directed particularly against Jehovah's Witnesses." In practice, persecution of adherents of Jehovah's Witnesses, who number in Russia 170,000 persons and are united in 409 local organizations, is happening thus. Concerning the Birobidzhan case, Ivan Belenko describes: "Believers conduct a worship service in a rented facility, with approximately 200 persons present. Knowing that periodically they encounter some malevolent actions on the part of officials, the believers installed a video camera on the stage, on a tripod, facing the hall and thereby they recorded all that happened. A large group of law enforcement personnel entered the hall, including OMON troops with weapons. Without clearly explaining why, they began to do a search. They went through the rows looking for 'extremist' literature and they found nothing, and then, after some time went by in one place, which had already been searched, a small commotion was raised and—oh miracle—some package in plastic wrap was found in which there were publications which Jehovah's Witnesses had not been using for a long time, but these publications are on the list of extremist materials. The believers, of course, were outraged: this was a plant, these are malevolent actions. But nevertheless this was officially recorded. And similar things are happening in very many regions. We have counted about 20 instances of recorded plants, to say nothing of some evidence of false witnesses; this is what Jehovah's Witnesses now are facing," Belenko describes. Testimony of false witnesses is the problem of the closed Belgorod organizations. There, as attorneys of local adherents of Jehovah's Witnesses maintain, the court used testimonies about the distribution of extremist publications signed by some citizens of states of Central Asia who lived at non-existent addresses. At least these were the addresses they indicated in their testimonies. Moreover, as the attorneys explained, they were not on the territory of Russia at the time indicated in their testimonies. They are not there even now. But the court did not consider it necessary and useful to summon them in order to hear them. "There are papers signed by them, and this seemed sufficient to the court," Ivan Belenko says. "At the root of all problems that Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia now face, at the root of labeling them extremist, lies the notorious federal list of extremist materials of the Russian Ministry of Justice in which there now are about 3,000 entries and of these 3,000, 80 are books and brochures published by Jehovah's Witnesses," Ivan Belenko explains. Why have these materials appeared on the list of extremist materials? The Jehovah's Witnesses suppose that when the creation of the list of extremist literature began it was considered that if some religion says that it possesses truth and divine election, that this is propaganda of exclusivity and that means it is also extremism. Experts who have been engaged by courts in the area of religion found these signs of propaganda of exclusivity or conviction of the correctness of their religion in publications of Jehovah's Witnesses, and the courts issued decisions: it means these publications or these editions are extremist. To challenge or to remove an edition or publication from the "extremist list" is an exceptionally difficult matter, practically impossible in Russia. "From this come all the other accusations against either the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses or individual believers—administrative cases against organizations and against individual people, criminal cases against individual people or liquidation of organizations, their inclusion in the list of extremist organizations, and the recognition of the official website as extremist. These are all things that Jehovah's Witnesses face every day. And the mother of all these problems is the fact that publications are on the list of extremist materials," Ivan Belenko says. The priest and journalist Yakov Krotov suggests that the causes of persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses lie much deeper than simply the list of forbidden literature. "The main victims are two and they are determined by the political police tradition of the current regime," Yakov Krotov notes. "Beginning in the 1920s, the Cheka defined enemy number one as Catholics, because Stalin had a terrible and vindictive hatred for Poles. And a Russian Roman Catholic bishop was shot back in 1922. Enemy number two was somewhat later defined by Stalin and this was Jehovah's Witnesses, because they proved to be the most consistent pacifists. Now even the Molokans have given in and since the 1990s they have begun serving in the army. Even the Moravian Brethren gave in. Jehovah's Witnesses are, as before, against service in the army, and for this the current regime presses and pummels them just as it pummeled them in 1935 and in 1945 and 1965." Therefore, Yakov Krotov notes, it was the first act of Vladimir Putin when he came to power that he deported from Russia a Catholic bishops and six Roman Catholic priests. And then it was again the Jehovah's Witnesses' turn. Around 8 million people in the world are adherents of the Jehovah's Witnesses and read the very same publications that were impounded by Russian customs in Vyborg, only in other languages. The literature of Russian Jehovah's Witnesses is printed in Germany. Now the impounded batches of literature, including the Bible in the Synodal translation, have been sent for investigation for extremism. "Of course, this sounds like a bad joke that sooner or later the prosecutor's office will issue a lawsuit to include the Bible in the extremist list, but now this has become a reality. We have learned that a lawsuit was filed in Vyborg city court in the name of the prosecutor to find the Bible that the Jehovah's Witnesses imported extremist," Ivan Belenko says. "When people who have something to do with religious studies, with rights advocacy activity, with culture, art, and so forth hear about this it sounds to them like complete nonsense. For the Jewish religion or for the Christian, for Orthodox and for protestants, for Jehovah's Witnesses, for whomever, this situation would be completely unpleasant and offensive. Therefore we await the 15th of March in order to learn the particulars, whether the prosecutor's office will withdraw its lawsuit, having come to realize that the Bible is not a book that one should try to rule to be extremist."
  5. Table of Contents Chapter I………………………………………………………………………………….…1 Witnessing to Russia and the Soviet Union.......................................................................5 Creating a Post-Soviet Reality...........................................................................................8 Examining the Past Through Witness Eyes.....................................................................10 Examining the Past Through Russian Orthodox Eyes.....................................................14 Creating a Russian Orthodox Counternarrative...............................................................20 Witnesses as Fascists, Witnesses as Martyrs...................................................................23 Making Witnesses a Threat to Democracy......................................................................27 Contesting Victims in the Moscow Courts......................................................................29 Conclusion.......................................................................................................................36 Works Cited.............................................................................................................................39 Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Russian Orthodox Church,1990-2004
  6. Emily B. Baran is Assistant Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. She has recently published her first monograph: Dissent on the Margins: How Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It (Oxford University Press, 2014). Emily B. Baran Jehovah’s Witnesses represent a relatively new phenomenon formany, if not most communities in the post-Soviet states. The major-ity of Soviet Witnesses lived in a limited number of provincial loca-tions far from political centers. This was not largely the case,however, for Moldova, which had some longstanding Witness com-munities in major areas, and particularly high concentrations of members in its northern districts dating back as far as the early 1920s under Romanian control. Following the wartime annexation of Bessarabia by the Soviet Union, the Witnesses’ refusal to servein the military, vote, or participate in civic life, coupled with a belief that the Soviet Union was controlled by Satan, made them an immediate and enduring target of state persecution. In 1949and 1951, the state exiled Witnesses en masse to Siberia, and didnot allow them to return until 1965. Even after this, Witnessesfaced the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment until thelate 1980s. Soviet propaganda portrayed the Witnesses as religiousfanatics, political subversives with ties to the United States, and dangerous criminals, denying them legal registration until 1991. After 1991, the former Soviet Union experienced a rapid increasein Witnesses, but there were still far more Witnesses in Moldova(and Ukraine) than anywhere else in the region. In 2009, only oneout of 903 Russians was a Witness, compared to one in 202 forMoldova. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought Moldova independence, but not territorial integrity. In fall 1990, separatists proclaimed thecreation of an independent state, the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (abbreviated in Russian as PMR), over territory east of the Dniester River. This fledgling attempt at self-determination escalated into a more serious concern once Moldova received inde-pendence and international recognition in 1991. The PMR refusedto accept Moldovan control over its territory, fueled in large part by fears of a Romanian annexation of the nascent republic.A small war broke out between the PMR and Moldova, resulting in a few hundred casualties and a cease-fire in July 1992. Talks between the two parties and the Organization for Security andCooperation in Europe failed to produce any movement towardreunification. Instead, the PMR and Moldova pursued separatecourses of state-building, making reintegration increasingly prob-lematic and undermining Moldova’s strategy of closer ties with Europe. This essay uses the Witnesses to examine religious freedom in post-Soviet Moldova and offers a comparison between the religiouspolicies of Moldova and the breakaway republic within its borders.It also provides a glimpse into the transformation of one formerly underground religious community into a legally registered organi-zation. After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Moldova and the PMRpursued significantly different courses of action in regard to reli-gious affairs. Both struggled to create some measure of religiousfreedom while satisfying the demands of a resurgent Orthodox Church andcommunity.Atthe same time, Moldova, like many post-Sovietstates, setthe goalofgreater integrationwith Europe.Admis-sion into and cooperation with European institutions required conformity to certain democratic standards and limited the extentto which Moldova could enact restrictive legislation against minor-ity religions. The PMR, in contrast, with no recognition from Euro-pean states, had little reason to conform to external dictates. Itsonly ally, Russia, had peacekeeping troops on its soil and by themid-1990shadbegunagradualshifttowardmoreexclusionaryreli-gious policies. Thus, Moldova and the PMR developed distinct reli-gious policies in response to differing international concerns andinternal dynamics. The result has been a relatively stable and inclu-sive religious policy in Moldova and a more arbitrary and uneven religious policy in Transnistria. I will first explore the post-Soviet situation for Witnesses in Moldova and the nexamine the challenges faced by Witnesses in the PMR. The Republic of Moldova How Soviet Jehovah's Witnesses Defied Communism and Lived to Preach About It Contested Victims: Jehovah's Witnesses and the Russian Orthodox Church, 1990-2004 Jehovah´s witnesses
  7. THE GOD KUZYA AND OTHERS Activity of religious organizations in Russia will be certified by Tatiana Zykova Rossiiskaia Gazeta—Nedelia, 3 March 2016 According to expert estimates, from 300 to 500 sects are active in Russia. They involve up to 800,000 citizens, a great portion of them youth. The figures are frightening. Now a law is being prepared on the certification of the activity of religious organizations and they will be taken under special oversight. A working group of deputies from all four fractions of parliament is developing the document, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Affairs of Property, Sergei Gavrilov, told RG. In addition, it is planned to strengthen control of the financing of foreign religious organizations. The most active sects, according to deputies, have centers in the USA and they are sponsored from there "And what is the extent of financing, Sergei Antolievich?" "Around a billion dollars. The majority of religious associations have been turned into full-fledged profitable business. "The sources of the financing are cash. It arrives through couriers and electronic and money transfers. As a rule, religious activity itself is not being financed but so-called missionary quasi-social projects. For example, penetration of the schools goes on through the preparation of textbooks. "Often under the guise of aid to disabled persons a bunch of corresponding literature is imported into the country. It is given out in underground passageways and near stores. It is distributed through mailboxes. "Whole regions are falling under the influence of different kinds of missionaries. "The main blow was delivered among indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic and the North. That is, among people who live in harmony with nature. And their simplicity is exploited and the fates of dozens and hundreds of families are maimed. "Numerous financial 'pyramids' and scamming of money and property are yet another side of the coin of draining of the resources of the population. Remember, 43 million rubles and dozens of apartments transferred to his name were found in the possession of the so-called god Kuzya." "But people contribute voluntarily. Nobody is prohibited from parting with his own property. How do you deal with this?" "We should understand that when falling into a sect, people do not voluntarily part from their property. It is necessary to understand the difference. "The methods of work of many sects are built on extortion and fraud, with the use of psychic or psychological coercion and force. "Some of them explicitly urge citizens to sell their apartments and settle in the woods and seek salvation there. We already have more than thirty such 'eco-settlements,' and the right to reside in them costs 30 thousand dollars. "Judicial practice has shown that persons victimized by sects often go to court for recovery of property—automobiles, furniture, apartments, houses—from illegal alienation of property. And also for a ruling that transactions of alienation or transfer of property rights are invalid. "In addition, there are numerous criminal cases connected with fraud in the execution of real estate transactions. Existing rules still make it difficult to apply them to organizations that by means of coercion encourage citizens to transfer financial resources and other property to the benefit of a sect. We definitely need to eliminate this gap." "There is no concept of 'sect' in Russian legislation." "That is true. There is the concept of 'religious group' and 'religious organization.' Even when we prohibit in court or convict leaders of misanthropic sects or cults, we call them destructive, totalitarian, or extremist religious groups and organizations. "Today such an approach is outdated. Even the term 'religious' is inapplicable to such organizations, because they have an entirely different character. "In essence, there have been formed in Russia very closed, tight-knit, aggressive communities in which the minds and actions of citizens are controlled. For example, pressure on the psyche with the use of psychotropic substances, including narcotics, is being practiced. The goal is to tear people from traditional morals and values. In practice this leads to the fact that many preachers urge ignoring elections, not serving in the army, not paying taxes, not using visas when crossing borders, and resettling illegally. All this is extremely dangerous." "How do you propose to combat this?" "We have suggested to the Russian Security Council, power structures, and the Ministry of Justice to work out together new methods, technologies, and criteria of compliance for permitting religious activity and access to work with youth and children. Among the determining criteria are the use of psychic techniques of influencing consciousness and attempts to seize property from citizens. "And organizers should be examined for extremism. Foreign financing should be eliminated or taken under oversight. Each foreign transfer should be explained and reexamined. "This requires systematic work by the Ministry of Justice and Rosfinmonitoring, the FNS, and the Ministry of Education and Science, all under the supervision of the Security Council. "Today even intelligence agencies deal with creepy occult sects years after the beginning of their activity. And what do we have against their organizers? Small fines up to 300 thousand rubles and corrective labor. Punishment must be toughened." "How can the situation be corrected legislatively?" "The changes which the deputies are preparing deal directly with several laws: on combating money laundering, on freedom of conscience, and also the Criminal Code. "New measures of prevention are proposing work with the population, especially with youth. The draft law indicates that the activity of religious organizations for whom work of more than 25 to 30 years has been proven should be under special oversight. "Any religious activity in the country should be certified. And people who begin to work in the market of religious services, as they think it to be, should understand that they fall under the strict control of the government from the first step and they will be examined for extremism." Russian original posted on Interfax-Religiia site, 3 March 2016 In Moscow arrested the leader of the sect of «God Kuzi», the suspected fraud Kuzya-the-God
  8. HOW TO BAN THE BIBLE? SACRED BOOKS REMAIN DEFENSELESS by Roman Lunkin The attempt to support some religion or even several at the governmental level often leads to unexpected results. Who could have thought that the adoption of a law about the legal immunity of some sacred texts has provoked the prohibition of others? Meanwhile, the theological and legal mechanism of screening out what is sacred and what is not is already under way. In the first place, Jehovah's Witnesses and their version of the Bible have suffered, which is natural since a politically motivated campaign against them has been conducted for a long time, since 2009. We recall that on 25 November 2015 amendments to the federal law "On combating extremist activity" took effect, regarding the legal immunity of four sacred scriptures: the Bible, Quran, Tanakh, and Kangyur. The draft law was introduced by President Vladimir Putin after an appeal from Ramzan Kadyrov. His request was evoked by a decision of a court in South Sakhalinsk of 12 August 2015, which found the book "Prayer to God: Its Significance and Place in Islam" and, accordingly, several passages from the Quran, to be extremist. Earlier conflict situations also arose over the Quran. In 2013 the October district court of Novorossiisk ruled the "Idiomatic Translation of the Holy Quran into the Russian Language" by Elmir Kuliev to be extremist. That is, a different translation is now not a sacred text. Similar logic has begun working also in the case of the Bible, although earlier the prosecutor's office and court had not touched the biblical text. Even a person without humanities education should be able to understand that it is possible to find in ancient religious texts descriptions of events that seem harsh from positions of modernity. In addition, in recent years even representatives of the RPTs (Father Vsevolod Chaplin) have noted that it is impossible to convict believers for the fact that they proclaim the truth and superiority of their own religion. But the "propaganda of superiority" is still proscribed in the law as one of the indicators of extremism. However in violation of all common sense the law enforcement system has engendered expert analyses with completely "stupid" contents (and apparently has pushed the right people to create expert centers). In 2015 an expert analysis of the Bible in the Jehovah's Witnesses' translation was created by the Center of Socio-Cultural Expert Analysis. Among the experts there is not one person with an academic degree in the specialty of religious studies (V.S. Kotelnikov, A.E. Tarasov, N.N. Kriukova). Among these experts there is one who is notorious, the mathematician and former assistant director of the Institute of Culturology, N.N. Kriukov, who found the tee-shirt "Orthodoxy or Death" and film "Innocence of Muslims" to be extremist. Kriukova explained her actions by the fact in that modern historical circumstances even innocuous works may be extremist. Within the framework of expert analyses, general linguistic definitions of "aggressive text," and concepts of "agitation," "propaganda," "slogan," and "image of the enemy" have been introduced. And all of this is automatically applied to the investigation of Jehovists' aids for study of the Bible. People who wrote the expert analysis draw the strange conventional conclusion from the teaching of the Jehovists: "The desire to deserve their salvation requires from devotees great efforts and therefore they will never be able to say with confidence that the deeds they perform will finally guarantee their salvation. . . . These postulates make the whole system of social and personal life worthless in the eyes of members of the Jehovah's Witnesses and they reorient them to cooperation exclusively within the congregation." It turns out that the authors of the expert analysis can make the same conclusion from the Orthodox teaching about salvation, within the framework of which believers of the RPTs also cannot say that they are saved in this life. And they are forced to devote great efforts to continuous self-perfection. At the same time, the experts are not even acquainted with the works of Jehovah's Witnesses. The quotations, as the text shows, are drawn from materials of the Irenaeus of Lyons Center, the radical Orthodox sect-fighting organization that is hostile to Jehovists, as also to many other religions and confessions. It may seem incredible, but in Kriukova's and others' expert analysis there is a section "Canonical understanding of the Bible." It gives the Orthodox definition of the Bible and the Word of God, of course from the point of view of the experts themselves. It presents this quotation: "Sectarian practice that is usually based on carefully selected and reinterpreted quotations from the Bible drain Christianity, turning it into legalism." Next the experts study "Sacred Scripture. New World Translation," the Jehovist version of the Bible. It is pointed out that there the name of God appears as Jehovah, the word "cross" is translated from the Greek as torture stake, and some books receive a different name. Moreover, the Jehovah's Witnesses' translation follows the Masoretic tradition and not the Septuagent, which in turn the Synodal translation follows. After a comparison of the Synodal translation and the New World Translation, experts draw the conclusion that the Jehovist text "permits translation of the system of doctrinal and ethical texts in a way different and distinct from the Christian tradition." Certainly from the point of view of historic Christianity, Jehovism has departed from Christian teaching. But these arguments in this expert analysis are mind-boggling. For example, there is a difference in translation: the Jehovists have "God's coworkers" instead of "God has workers." Often the experts lack logic entirely. For example, they cite the Jehovist translation of the text of 1 John 5.4: "This is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith." The expert analysis gives the translation of the United Bible Society: "God's children overcome the world. The victory in this world is for our triumphant faith." And it draws the conclusion: "Then in this way the idea about the election of Jehovah's Witnesses as the 'people of Jehovah' and the affirmation of the 'kingdom in the heavens' led by Jesus Christ is injected." After a whole series of quotations with different translations of the biblical text and calls for Jehovists to study the Bible, the experts' conclusion follows: "On the basis of the aforesaid, the New World Translation is not a variant of a translation of the Bible in the Christian tradition and consequently it is not a Bible as a canonical collection of texts." One of the arguments consists of the fact that the study of a translation requires a guide for interpretation of the text, and "therefore the New World Translation connects to all ideas existing in the doctrinal and ethical literature of the Jehovah's Witnesses." It is obvious that the Christian content of the doctrine of Jehovists has not been studied in the expert analysis, and if one presents biblical stories or the interpretation of the Bible by the holy fathers and other theologians, then the experts would be amazed to discover that there is the same "connection" to all ideas of the Bible among Catholics, Orthodox, and protestants. The conclusions of the expert analysis are like a verdict of guilty: "manipulative techniques are used," "there is information connected with infringement of personality," discrimination, accusations against other social groups, etc. And the most important accusation: "there is a foundation for the opinion of the opposition and incompatibility of the interests of the religious group of Jehovah's Witnesses with the interests of other religious groups." Thus the expert analysis draws conclusions that the experts do not prove and conclusions that the experts may not make. Only a court can decide whether Jehovists infringe the rights of citizens. It is amazing that experts consider as "extremism" that which is the essence of religious activity and the foundation of the life of any group of believers who live by an awareness of their truth that belongs only to them. Believers of one group interpret their own truth and, on that foundation, the sacred texts, and therefore, naturally, "are incompatible with other religious groups." The majority of Christians in Russia use the Synodal translation of the Bible, but in legal terms it is not clear why other translations or whole contemporary translations of the Bible should suffer. The point is that Orthodox, for example, may not like modern translations of the New Testament that protestants make. Questions have arisen for representatives of the RPTs, Buddhism, and Judaism in connection with the law on the legal immunity of sacred texts. Why does the bill mention the collection of Buddhist sacred texts Kangyur but not the second part of the collection with commentaries, the Dangyur? Why is not the whole Talmud included? For Orthodoxy it would be natural to compose a list of texts of Tradition and the Holy Fathers of the church that the prosecutor's office should not view these books as targets. Anxiety has gripped not only "nontraditional" believers. In Russia, where religious feeling has always been the foundation of culture and development, religion has become something suspicious and unreliable for the authorities. After all, adherence to faith in some sense makes a person independent; faith makes us free.
  9. Rising government restrictions have fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and discrimination against religious minorities and their individual members throughout Russia. International and legal standards mandate that religious minorities be treated fairly and without discrimination. But Russia’s misuse of the Extremism Law contravenes these standards. Its official actions cannot be countenanced under UN and OSCE standards, including the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Helsinki Accords. The international community should increase its pressure on the Russian government to reverse course and begin to respect the fundamental rights of individuals and communities. Perhaps a good place to start is to ask the Russian government to narrow its definition of “extremism” to violence or incitement to violence articulated in the Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism, which Russia has signed and ratified: 20 "Extremism" is an act aimed at seizing or keeping power through the use of violence or changing violently the constitutional regime of a State, as well as a violent encroachment upon public security, including organization, for the above purposes, of illegal armed formations and participation in them, criminally prosecuted in conformity with the national laws of the Parties. RUSSIA: INCREASING CRACKDOWN ON RELIGIONS
  10. RELIGIOUS STUDIES SCHOLARS GO ON THE OFFENSIVE Academics do not want to be instruments of persecution of believers by Roman Lunkin The situation involving the use of religious studies expert analysis as an instrument of persecution in Russia has become critical. In 2009, the academic community and thousands of believers were outraged by the appointment of the radical sect-fighter Alexander Dvorkin as the head of the Expert Council in the Russian Ministry of Justice. After that, expert analysis began to be used ever more often in order to liquidate various church movements or to recognize them as extremist and believers as extremists. Other dangers also appeared. Religious studies began being replaced by theology in departments of higher educational institutions and sect-fighters declared themselves to be religious studies scholars. It turned out that the problem is much deeper than disagreements among secular researchers and Orthodox sect-fighters; it is the problem of preserving pluralism in the religious life of Russia. How is one to act in conditions of chaos and excess? This question was contemplated by participants in the All-Russian Conference "Problems of religious studies expert analysis," organized by the Center for Religious Studies Research "Religiopolis." The leaders of the discussion were Professor Ekaterina Elbakian, the publicist Mikhail Sitnikov, and attorney Inna Zagrebina. Discussion participants included scholars from the entire country, from Vladivostok to St. Petersburg, and also lawyers of the Slavic Legal Center, Anatoly Pchelintsev and Vladimir Riakhovsky. The scholars put forward a whole series of recommendations for resolving the situation. --Strengthening the religious studies community by creating a professional organization, possibly with public licensing of experts. The community should also react effectively to offensive materials in news media and judge unprincipled expert analyses. Such was the expert analysis by Larisa Astakhova from Kazan; she concluded that the Church of Scientology was a nonreligious organization, as had been requested by law enforcement agencies and the Russian Ministry of Justice. Regret was expressed that after the conclusion of her academic career, Astakhova chose sect-fighting. --Publishing a textbook or scholarly resources for religious studies expert analysis, which would describe all methodological approaches, basic concepts and parameters of expert analysis, and legislation in this sphere. Sociologists and religious studies scholars also emphasized the importance of work on creating regional guides on religious organizations, which will help both the public and officials to use academic material in the event of illegal demands on the part of evangelism departments of the Russian Orthodox Church to limit the activity of one or another church. In connection with expert analysis, there also arose the urgent question of the personal responsibility of the scholar before the law and before religious communities. Many researchers noted the significance of objectivity and academic detachment from the object of investigation, which however seemed naive against the background of a number of disgraceful expert analyses. For example, the head of the Expert Council in the Russian Ministry of justice is not a religious studies scholar but a specialist in criminal law, T. Burkovskaia, who at the same time signs all expert analyses (for example, several dozen regarding churches and movements in Crimea). The Bible published by Jehovah's Witnesses in St. Petersburg was not recognized as the Bible by N. Kriukova, a mathematician by education. This same Kriukova considered the film "Innocence of Muslims" and a tee-shirt with the motto "Orthodoxy or Death" to be extremist. In the majority of cases, it turns out that religious studies analysis is used extremely arbitrarily because of the lack of clear rules. But in religious studies there cannot be such strict rules as in linguistic or technical expert analysis. Does this mean that it is necessary to generally reject it within the framework of judicial proceedings? If it were the case that in Russia the procedure for registration of religious associations were declarative, as in many countries (acquiring tax privileges is a separate issue), then religious studies expert analysis should be eliminated altogether. In the meantime, participation by researchers in judicial proceedings often saves churches from liquidation and believers from punishment. There are fewer and fewer such examples. Scholars are being made participants in the illegal anti-extremist policy of the authorities. Religious studies scholars have a professional interest in a corrected definition of extremism and extremist activity in law. Any word or assessment by a religious studies scholar may become grounds for crminal prosecution. As is the case of Jehovah's Witnesses, who have been found guilty for proclaiming the truth of their religion, which both the RPTs and Muslims do. The issue of new religious movements also is rather critical: what right does a scholar have to say that this society is nonreligious if all of its members consider themselves to be believers and pray to some god or prophet? How can one oppose those politicians and sect-fighters who consider any non-Orthodox society to be a "commercial cult," while earning money. That means that sooner or later in Russia there will also be devised ways, as in the countries of the European Union, to grant the status of a religious associaiton to all comers (it is not the government's business to ascertain the sincerity of the feelings of believing citizens). And if an association wishes to gain exemption from taxes, then it is necessary to conduct an expert analysis of doctrine and of the existence of religious activity. Despite the sharp conflict now, it is necessary to foresee future cooperation of the church and science and of religious studies scholars and theologians. It should be recognized that there is a space for open discussion between representatives of scholarship and the church, but only in Moscow. That is the church-wide graduate studies of the RPTs and St. Tikhon's Orthodox University. The basic portion of those who are studying religious movements in Orthodox dioceses or educational institutions are xenophobic and advocate against religious liberty and prohibit even those churches and groups that are registered in Russia (especially active in this regard is the Evangelism Department of the RPTs, when it is mission and preaching that this department is essentially not engaged in). Religious studies scholars are diverse people, with their own shortcomings, many of whom also are Orthodox, but now they have become an obstacle for a new anti-religious campaign. Researchers see only too well how close is the lexicon of sect-fighters to that of the soviet atheist Emelian Yaroslavsky. Russian parliament preparing restrictions on new religious groups WORKING GROUP FOR COMBATING SECTARIANISM TO BE CREATED IN STATE DUMA Deputies of the State Duma on Thursday at a session of the interfractional deputies' Group for Protection of Christian Values made a decision to create a working group for combating sectarianism in Russia, a report from the press service of the coordinator of the interfractional group, Sergei Gavrilov, says. Mikhail Markelov, a deputy from United Russia and a member of the interfractional group, noted in the session that at the present time sects are expanding their presence in various constituent elements (subjects) of Russia, and more and more new converts of these organizations are appearing. At the same time the legislation lacks a definition of "sect," and introduction of such a term and special law has both supporters and opponents. Markelov noted that "critics of the appearance of such a law appeal to the fact that there is no Supreme Court determination, and because of this it is impossible to adopt one." He said that because of the lack of such a definition, developers of a legislative idea against sects have often entered a dead end. "I have a suggestion to create a working group of members of our deputies' group and those deputies who already have introduced their own legislative initiatives intended to combat sects," Markelov noted at the session. Coordinators approved the creation of such a working group. "All of this is correct, but we need to work not only in the direction of developing a methodology for law enforcement agencies for identification and prevention of destructive sects that are connected not only with citizens' property interests, but we need to begin discussion of issues involving the manipulation of mass consciousness, including propaganda for anti-Russian activity," Gavrilov needed. "We recall the dangerous role played by sects in the revolution in Ukraine and the activity that they conducted for suppression of Orthodox interests in Ukraine now. I would hope that Mikhail Yurevich Markelov would head this group and we will provide him comprehensive support," the legislator also emphasized.
  11. WARNING ISSUED TO KALUGA JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES by Nikolai Akimov Late last year the prosecutor's office of the city of Kaluga conducted a verification of compliance with legislation on combating extremist activity of temporary structures—the stands with literature in the center of the city which have references to an extremist website on the Internet. During the verification on one of these stands, literature of several titles that have been ruled to be extremist and included in the appropriate federal list was discovered. In addition, in one of the books there was a reference to the website of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, which also has been ruled by court decision to be extremist. Therefore the prosecutor's office imposed an administrative fine on the leader of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and warned him about the impermissibility of violating the federal law "On combating extremist activity" and threatened that in the event of violation of federal legislation stricter measures of prosecutorial reaction might be adopted against him Kaluga's Jehovists have been handled more mildly. Recently the Belgorod provincial court, on a lawsuit from the prosecutor's office, found two of the largest local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses to be extremist and adopted a decision to liquidate them. The supervisory agency says that representatives of this cult "have violated the integrity of the family," and they have distributed texts with citations to forbidden literature. The reason for liquidation was refusals of blood transfusions by devotees of the organization, distribution of extremist literature, and encouragement of the break up of families. All of this, in the opinion of the court, were manifestations of extremist activity. The decision regarding liquidation of Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in two of the largest cities of the province—Belgorod and Stary Oskol—were made on the same day, 11 February 2016, and took effect immediately.
  12. EXPERTS DIFFER IN OPINION ABOUT LEGISLATIVE CONTROL OF PREACHERS RIA Novosti, 17 February 2016 A draft law defining in federal legislation the concept of missionary activity has evoked a mixed reaction among representatives of religious organizations and experts questioned by RIA Novosti. Some see in it a long-needed measure; to the contrary, others declare it to be in contradiction with the constitution of the Russian federation. The authors of the draft law introduced this week into the State Duma—the Arkhangelsk provincial assembly of deputies—want to supplement the existing law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" with an article entitled "Missionary activity." The initiators explain that in its current form the legislation does not adequately regulate the legal relations connected with the procedure for conducting missionary activity and it lacks in particular control of the activity of "missionaries, including those who have come from abroad and are preaching on Russian territory." "I remind you that Russia is a secular state, where all religious organizations have equal status. Their activity is regulated by the law 'On freedom of conscience,' into which it is proposed to introduce changes. I suppose that there already now is a negative conclusion by the government," Yaroslav Nilov, a deputy of the LDPR fraction and head of the duma's Committee on Affairs of Public Associations and Religious Organizations, told RIA Novosti. He said that this may be because when it has successfully gone through state registration a religious organization has the right "to implement the goals of its charter, which are guaranteed by the constitution." He said that such goals include the dissemination of the faith, conduct of educational events, implementation of canons, conduct of ceremonies, and "engagement in such activity as may be called missionary activity." Therefore, the deputy suggests, the government has considered that to prescribe in addition the concept of "missionary activity" in the law is "excessive." The news agency's interlocutor assured that the standing committee "has an obligation to discuss and to determine future prospects" of the legislative initiative. He also noted that a number of legislative assemblies have adopted similar regional laws. Position of Religious Organizations The Russian Orthodox Church has declared that it does not support the initiative of the Arkhangelsk deputies. The director of the Legal Service of the Moscow patriarchate, Hegumena Kseniia Chernega, reported that a similar draft law was prepared by the cabinet of ministers several years ago. The initiative for regulating missionary activity—which is first of all illegal—belonged, she said, not to the church but to the Ministry of Justice. "We rejected this idea since there were many subjective concepts," Chernega stated, explaining that at the time there was talk, for example, about problems in determining the affiliation of a person with one or another confession or who is a representative of a religious organization. "We are talking, in such a case, about the persons who act with authorization or who are leaders of religious organizations, clergy," the director of the Legal Service of MP explains. Chernega thinks that the constituent elements of the country [subjects] cannot be given the right to regulate missionary activity. This violates the constitution and "may seriously infringe the rights of citizens." The first vice-chairman of the Ecclesiastical Board of Muslims of Russia, Damir Mukhetdinov, told RIA Novosti the performance of missionary activity is nothing other than "the obligation of the true Muslim." He emphasized that this is "a very difficult topic," since, on one hand, one is talking about an attempt to combat preaching activity of "destructive sects and movements," and, on the other hand, this deals with questions of doctrine that require a definite point of view of theologians and religious leaders. "In such a case, we will have to change the religious imperatives themselves since after all the charters of the ecclesiastical boards of Muslims say that their purpose is to spread their religion, that is, to engage in missionary activity," Mukhetdinov thinks. In his view, legislative limits on missionary activity "will not be accepted by believing people," since they will take away from them one of the primary dogmatic functions: "to bear the word of God." Opinion of Experts In his turn, the senior scientific associate of the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leonid Siukiyainen, suggests that legislative regulating of the activity of missionaries "is possible in principle." "In the past 20 years there have been many situations which evoked the desire and necessity of adopting such legislative acts. They have been adopted in a number of constituent elements of the Russian federation. We know the situation that troubles the Russian Orthodox Church and we know many sensitive issues that are connected with Muslim religious organizations. Therefore I think that it may make sense to regulate this," the legal expert said. At the same time, he emphasized that the regulation should be accomplished without violation of provisions of the chief law of the country and not contradict relevant European documents on this topic that Russia also has signed. The necessity of adopting a law on the federal level was previously stated by the president of the Russian Association of Centers for the Study of Religions and Sects, Alexander Dvorkin. The religious studies expert explained that such a measure would be aimed, in the first place, not at sectarians but at organizations in whose name they are conducting their mission. He said that imprisonment of individual members of sects is "an extremely undesirable development of things," since sects "dream that their members would receive real prison terms," so that then they can "talk about persecution of religion in Russia." (tr. by PDS, posted 17 February 2016) TEXT OF AMENDMENT OF RELIGION LAW Introduced by Arkhangelsk provincial Assembly of Deputies Draft RUSSIAN FEDERATION FEDERAL LAW On introducing changes into federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" Article 1 To introduce into chapter II of the federal law of 26 September 1997 "On freedom of conscience and religious associations" a change, adding to it article 5.1 of the following contents: Article 5.1 Missionary activity 1. Missionary activity means informational and organizational activity of representatives of religious associations, and also of persons distributing religious literature and other items of religious significance, produced by religious associations, directly or indirectly intended for the dissemination of their teaching and religious practice on the territory of the Russian federation among persons of a different faith and/or nonbelievers. 2. A missionary is a person who conducts missionary activity on the territory of the Russian federation. 3. Informational missionary activity is activity of missionaries aimed at announcing, popularizing, and disseminating any religious views, notions, and religious practice by oral, printed, electronic, and other means. 4. Organizational missionary activity is activity of missionaries aimed at the creation of organized religious structures (associations), training of specialists, organizing and conducting religious events, and creation of other conditions for accomplishment of missionary activity. 5. Religious associations have the right to conduct missionary activity. The procedure for conducting missionary activity by a religious association on the territory of a subject [constituent element] of the Russian federation is established by legislation of a subject of the Russian federation. Article 2 The present federal law becomes effective from the day of its official publication. V.V. Putin, President of the Russian federation Moscow, Kremlin (tr. by PDS, posted 17 February 2016) Russian original posted on official site of State Duma, 15 February 2016
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  13. IN BELGOROD REGION JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES CONGREGATIONS FOUND TO BE EXTREMIST by Vsevolod Inyutin, Kommersant (Belgorod) 12 February 2016
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    On the basis of a lawsuit from the prosecutor's office, the Belgorod provincial court ruled that two of the largest local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are extremist and issued a decision to liquidate them. The oversight agency said that representatives of this cult "violated the integrity of the family," and they distributed texts with citations to forbidden literature. Representatives of the organization promise to challenge the decisions of the court, which in their opinion were based on unreliable testimonies from a person who supposedly was rewarded by the Russian Orthodox Church "for struggle with sectarians." Experts do not see legal reasons for prohibiting the Belgorod Jehovists. The decisions for the liquidation of the organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the two largest cities of the province—Belgorod and Stary Oskol—were made on the same day, 11 February, and they took effect immediately. According to information from the press service of the provincial court, both congregations were ruled to be extremist and their activity was found to be in violation of the federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations." An official representative of the provincial prosecutor's office, Olga Moiseikina, said that personnel of the agency proved in court that Jehovists "violate the integrity of the family." They produced as examples complaints from school teachers who described how a Jehovist mother "beat [her children] with a willow branch and set them in a corner" and forced them to follow the teachings of the Witnesses. She also argued with the teacher that they should not attend classes in Orthodox culture which are practically obligatory in Belgorod province. "A woman also appealed to the prosecutor's office, whose Jehovist grandaughter had registered her in a home for the elderly. The activity of this organization led to conflicts within the family because of religious disagreements," Mrs. Moiseikina summed up. She said that the Witnesses also provoked public discontent. Residents of Stary Oskol and a neighboring village also appealed to the agency and asked to stop the activity of Witnesses missionaries, who claimed "that their religion is most correct." However the agency considers that the most egregious thing is that several Jehovists refused blood transfusions, which ended in their death. "After an auto accident, a man was brought to the hospital, and his relatives, who attended meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses, refused blood transfusion in writing. A similar thing happened with a woman who presented at the emergency room with poisoning. In both cases, the outcome was fatal. In several other cases, doctors either managed to persuade the patients to have a transfusion or in the end it was not required," the representative of the prosecutor's office reported. In addition, ministers of the cult were found in possession of literature with references to prohibited texts and websites, especially the official portal of the Jehovah's Witnesses. It was these arguments that were determinative for the court that the provincial prosecutor's office labored to designate. The Russian representation of Jehovah's Witnesses intends to challenge the liquidation of the congregations in the Supreme Court. "The decisions of the court are based on unreliable evidence. For example, the testimony of a young man named Sukhobrus. He maintained that he visited a Jehovah's Witnesses church and there he was given extremist materials. Who it was and when he was not able to say. Meanwhile, lawyers discovered on the Internet a photograph in which Sukhobrus was receiving an award "for struggle with sects" from a local, highly-placed priest of the Russian Orthodox Church," the press secretary of the Russian representation, Ivan Belenko, told Kommersant. Mr. Belenko emphasized that the prosecutors "did not introduce any evidence regarding the organizations themselves," but they described for the court only "physical persons who were not members in them." "In any case, the court liquidated only two specific legal entities but it did not forbid people to confess their faith, as the Russian constitution guarantees," he added. The head of the SOVA Center for News and Analysis, Alexander Berkhovsky, called Jehovah's Witnesses "one of the religious organizations that have suffered most" in Russia. "Back in 2009 they were banned in Taganrog. There the consequence was even a criminal trial. Adherents of this cult continued to assemble and law enforcement officials took this as the continuation of activity of a prohibited organization. Much of the Witnesses' literature has been ruled by courts to be extremist, and recently at the border a bunch of their books were seized—this was a translation of the Bible, which was not just that of the Jehovists but also the synodal version," Mr. Berkhovsky explained. In his opinion, the prosecutors did not identify legal grounds for finding the congregations to be extremist. "Almost all religions of the world consider their teaching to be uniquely correct. The Jehovists have not written anywhere that it is necessary to divorce if a husband or wife professes a different religion. In addition, the law does not in any way forbid reference to extremist literature and all citizens regardless of their convictions have the right to refuse medical aid," he explained. The expert does not believe that the Jehovah's Witnesses will succeed in the Supreme Court: "Nobody has yet managed to beat back such claims once they have been confirmed by a court." Jehovah's Witnesses in northern Russia lose appeal in court ARKHANGELSK JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DID NOT SUCCEED IN CHALLENGING PROSECUTOR'S WARNING SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 10 February 2016 On 10 February 2016, the Arkhangelsk provincial court ruled the warning of the prosecutor's office about the impermissibility of extremist activity, issued to the Arkhangelsk local organization of Jehovah's Witnesses on 11 June 2015, to be legal. The warning was issued after FSB personnel conducted a series of searches in the premises of the Kingdom Hall and in Arkhangelsk believers' apartments. The agency reported that as a result, about 400 copies of prohibited literature were confiscated. The congregation originally tried to challenge the warning in district court and then filed an appeal in provincial court, but it also turned down the appeal. We note that the head of the congregation, Alexander Parygin, who recently was fined for distributing prohibited literature, himself filed in the Ministry of Justice an application for the liquidation of his organization, in October 2015. We recall that we regard the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and the ban of their texts under the guise of combating extremism to be religious discrimination. HEAD OF ARKHANGELSK JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FINED SOVA Center for News and Analysis, 4 February 2016 Alexander Parygin was fined on basis of article 20.29 of Code of Administrative Violations of Law. It was reported on 4 February 2016 that the October district court of Arkhangelsk on 22 January 2016 found the head of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, "Central. Arkhangelsk," Alexander Parygin, guilty of possession of extremist literature for the purpose of mass distribution (article 20.29 of Code of Administrative Violations of Law). It was reported that he was sentenced to a fine of 1,500 rubles. This was not the first case of prosecutions of Jehovah's Witnesses in Arkhangelsk. Thus in April of 2015, religious literature was confiscated in the premises of the congregation, and in October 2015 the same October court of Arkhangelsk fined a member of the congregation on the basis of article 20.29. After this, Parygin reported that he had sent to the Ministry of Justice an application for self-liquidation of the city's organization. In December, Igor Orlov, the acting governor of Arkhangelsk province, stated that he intends to "delegalize" the Jehovah's Witnesses in the region. [see Russian governor threatens Jehovah's Witnesses, December 7, 2015] We consider that persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses and the ban of their texts for extremism are illegal and we view this as religious discrimination. Russian governor threatens Jehovah's Witnesses HEAD OF ARKHANGELSK PROVINCE INTENDS TO "DELEGALIZE" JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES SOVA, 7 December 2015
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    The acting governor of Arkhangelsk province said in an interview with an Orthodox publication that the government and church together should counteract "sects" and that the Arkhangelsk authorities are preparing to work for the prohibition of the Jehovah's Witnesses. On 7 December 2015, the website of the Arkhangelsk diocese published an interview with the acting governor of Arkhangelsk province, Igor Orlov. In particular, in the interview the governor reported about work being conducted "in order to delegalize the Jehovah's Witnesses in Arkhangelsk province." He recalled that Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned in several regions and he confirmed that Arkhangelsk authorities are "going along the very same road." "A person may worship Perun or whomever he wants, but he should not cause harm to others and force them to commit illegal acts. But only within the bounds of the law can one demonstrate that one or another organization does not comport with the interests of society and the state. This process is always complicated, but work is continuing," the governor said. In the same interview, I. Orlov declared that "governmental authority should treat with respect all confessions and beliefs, if they bear a constructive character with respect to society." "To treat with respect the faith of a person is the clear duty of the government. But at the same time there also is a second duty: along with the church to oppose destructive forces that destroy human souls. Sects and all possible pseudoreligious movements represent a system of the destruction of the inner world of a person. The government should not permit that." ARKHANGELSK JEHOVISTS DECIDE TO SELF-LIQUIDATE 29.ru, 29 October 2015 The leader of the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, "Central. Arkhangelsk," Alexander Parygin, sent to the provincial division of the Ministry of Justice of the RF an application for the self-liquidation of the organization. The regional anti-sectarian center "Civil Security" reported that the request was made on the eve of a session of the October court of Arkhangelsk on 30 October. At it instances of the distribution of extremist literature by Jehovists will be considered. Civil Security noted that the prosecutor's office of the region has already issued to the leaders of the Arkhangelsk and Kotlas Jehovists a warning about the impermissibility of extremist activity. In the opinion of specialists of the center, self-liquidation with subsequent registration of a new legal entity with a different name is nothing other than an attempt to escape accountability. Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization of a pseudo-Christian movement. Many Russian analysts and religious studies experts consider the Jehovah's Witnesses to be a totalitarian sect. They maintain that being among Jehovists substantially increases the risk of developing psychiatric illnesses and disorders, including severe ones. The number of adherents of the cult in Arkhangelsk province is more than 2,500, of which approximately 1,000 are in the provincial center.
  14. Jehovah's Witnesses > WTBTS of Pennsylvania > Archive of Publications > 2016 C.E. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Russian authorities have increasingly resorted to fabricating evidence to justify charges of extremism against Jehovah’s Witnesses. This video examines three such incidents and what they mean for freedom of worship in Russia.
  15. STARYI OSKOL RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES LIQUIDATED by Evgeny Filippov BelPressa, 10 February 2016
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    The Belgorod provincial court ruled that the association does not conform to the requirements of the law. Today the concluding session on the administrative lawsuit of the prosecutor of Belgorod province in defense of the interests of the RF for the liquidation of the Staryi Oskol organization of Jehovah's Witnesses occurred. The court ruled that it does not comply with the requirements of the federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious association." The organization must be liquidated and removed from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities. The decision of the court is to take effect immediately. Lawyers for the defendant did not agree with the decision that was made, and they will appeal it in the judicial college for administrative affairs of the Supreme Court of the RF. Today the lawsuit of the district prosecutor for finding the Belgorod religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses and its liquidation and removal from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entitles will be considered. The result of the session will be learned later. PROVINCIAL COURT BANS ACTIVITY OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ORGANIZATION OF CITY OF BELGOROD by Evgeny Grebnik Komsomolskaia Pravda (Belgorod), 11 February 2016
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    On Thursday, 11 February, the provincial court issued a decision finding the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses of the city of Belgorod extremist and not in compliance with the requirements of the federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations." By the court's decision, it must be liquidated and removed from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities. The prosecutor of Belgorod province filed a lawsuit in court in defense of the interests of the Russian federation. We recall that a day before this, a similar decision was issued with respect to the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses of the city of Stary Oskol. The decisions for the cessation of activity of said organizations are to take effect immediately. Within one month they may be appealed in the judicial college for administrative affairs of the Supreme Court of the Russian federation. DECISION TO LIQUIDATE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES ORGANIZATIONS REGISTERED IN BELGOROD AND STARY OSKOL MADE ON BASIS OF LAWSUITS OF BELGOROD PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR Official website of office of prosecutor of Belgorod province, 11 February 2016
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    Today, 11 February 2016, an administrative lawsuit by the prosecutor of Belgorod province for finding the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Belgorod to be extremist and liquidated was granted by decision of the Belgorod provincial court. Yesterday the provincial court issued a decision on the administrative lawsuit of the provincial prosecutor for liquidation of the local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Stary Oskol. In the trial the prosecutor's office presented to the court evidence containing information about violations committed by the organizations connected with the distribution of materials of extremist contents (promoting the superiority or inferiority of a person on the basis of religious affiliation or attitude toward religion) and other violations for which the federal law "On combating extremist activity" provides accountability. Eyewitnesses were questioned and documents were examined which gave evidence about encouraging members of the organization to refuse, on the basis of religious motives, medical aid for persons who were in life-threatening condition and about destruction of family and kinship relations on grounds of religious differences. Also the court established that the said organizations violate the requirement of the federal law "On freedom of conscience and religious associations." The organizations must be liquidated and removed from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities. The court announced that the decisions regarding prohibition of the activity of the religious organizations take effect immediately. DOCTORS IN COURT: "JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DIED AFTER REFUSING BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS" Moia Reklama, 8 February 2016
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    In the Belgorod provincial court, medics described the death in Stary Oskol State Hospital of patients who refused blood transfusions. A doctor toxicologist reported how a woman from Stary Oskol was poisoned by mushrooms and forbade doctors to transfuse her blood and she died in torment from necrosis of the liver. Today, doctors from the Stary Oskol State Hospital, residents of the city whom Jehovists invited to their meetings, and members themselves of the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses spoke out in provincial court at a regular session in a case about the liquidation of the Stary Oskol congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. As Moia Reklama has already reported, a case about the liquidation of the Belgorod and Stary Oskol congregations of Jehovists is now being reviewed by the provincial court. Religious leaders are accused of distributing literature that has been ruled to be extremist. They are also talking in the trial about how their activity negatively impacts family relations and may even lead to the death of adherents. In the brochures that adherents distribute in meetings of said organization there were discovered signs of extremism. The prosecutor of Belgorod province filed in court [a petition?] against the religious leaders, demanding the closing of two branches of the organization. In the trial Jehovists were asked what kind of literature was given to them in the meetings and whether they contained calls for religious strife and destruction of the family, and whether they would accept blood transfusion in the event of need. These people answered that such a procedure is prohibited and they would refuse it. Two doctors were summoned into court as witnesses in order to learn whether religious convictions have affected the state of health of Jehovist patients and whether they could be the cause of the death of patients. A toxicologist from the Stary Oskol city hospital described how in 2001 a man and his wife who had been poisoned by toadstools were brought to her department. The husband, who was in critical condition, immediately had a blood transfusion in order to cleanse his organism from toxins. But the woman, who felt better than her spouse, refused hemosorption and plasmapharesis. "The patient was conscious and she herself signed documents refusing blood transfusion. An attorney visited her and persuaded the Jehovist not to consent to these medical procedures and he promised to move her to Moscow where there is a hospital with equipment that permits cleansing the organism of poison without blood transfusion. The husband, who is not a member of the congregation, tried to persuade his wife to do everything that the doctors were recommending, but she was unmoved. The lawyer, who promised help, did not visit the next day. The woman was not moved to the capital hospital. In the end, she died from necrosis of the liver. "At the last moment, the woman nevertheless agreed to one of the procedures, but it was already too late. In principle, members of the congregation could have moved her to the capital by air ambulance, or have brought other equipment into our hospital which permits cleansing the organism without transfusion. But they did not do this, although the lawyer had promised. In our turn, we were not able to do anything, since we treat with the equipment that we have. And in our city hospital it is possible to remove poison from an organism only by means of pumping the stomach and transfusing blood. This incident made a very strong impression on me. After all, I could have helped this woman at the time, but I was not able to. She refused the transfusion and she died in torment, being conscious all the time," the doctor toxicologist related this sad story. Yet another Stary Oskol medic described the death of a Jehovist patient after refusing blood transfusion. The man was involved in an accident. Doctors did a serious operation on him, after which he died. "The patient had more chances to survive if a transfusion had been done on him, but an operation was not done because of extremely low hemoglobin," the doctor concluded. A man was also questioned in court who had nearly become a member of the congregation. The 33-year-old citizen of Stary Oskol described how he and his spouse were approached on the street by a preacher who offered brochures with articles of religious contents. The man stated that the new acquaintance described to him how it was possible to visit the prohibited website of the Jehovists to which Roskomnadzor had blocked access. A little bit later the Stary Oskol citizen learned that the literature that the preachers had offered to him had also been declared extremist. His wife reported to the police and described for the guardians of order what had happened. In his turn, the Jehovists' attorney Anton Omelchenko asked how long the man had cooperated with the FSB. When the judge overruled the question, noting that it had nothing to do with the case, the lawyer rephrased the same question and tried to get an answer from the man. When the judge forced Omelchenko to stop the talk about the FSB, he suddenly asked the witness what his faith was, stating that his beard gave a sort of hint of his religious confession. The judge again overruled the question and threatened to remove the lawyer for impertinent questions. The Jehovists' attorney Alexander Filin behaved more properly and did not pose questions regarding the external appearance of witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses' defense tried to insist on the participation in the trial of a religious studies expert, who would be able to describe the activity of the organization as a whole, but the judge rejected the petition, noting that it had nothing to do with the present case. Jehovists speaking in defense of the congregation also came to the trial. A woman resident of Stary Oskol described how, thanks to this religious organization, she discovered for herself much that was new and was able to improve relations within her family. "I previously held feminist views and even wanted to divorce my husband, and now I have wholeness in the family. I decided to sacrifice my career and quit work in order to care for the children and be engaged in their upbringing. We have no conflicts with relatives and my parents, who are Orthodox. We care for the children and they study well and are praised in school," the 37-year-old woman declared. Her husband, confirming that he does not attend Jehovists' meetings but he supports them, spoke in defense of the congregation and gave assurance that he and his wife live quite remarkably and resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. And their children, although they are forbidden to celebrate birthdays, supposedly live busy lives, play with peers, and attend religious meetings completely voluntarily, where nobody forces them to go, according to the woman. It should be noted that a large portion of Jehovists who were summoned to court did not want to talk with the press. Only one of the residents of Oskol, who identified herself as Natalie Emelianenko, agreed to explain why she had come to the session. "I want to stand up for God. There is nothing bad in our congregation. We live compatibly, although I became a believer and my husband did not. Our family only became stronger from this. As regards blood transfusion, I would not want to do it because they may use contaminated instead of normal blood. And now there are alternative methods of treatment," Natalie declared confidently. In response to a question what she and her relatives would be able to do in a situation where it was impossible to avoid a transfusion, the woman could not explain and she declined entirely to answer. Her friend Elena (she declined to give her surname) came up to help her. The women began describing together how they had joined the religious organization and became Jehovists, but they did not answer inconvenient questions. The citizens of Oskol declared that they had spoken in the trial and hoped that they could be able to save the congregation from liquidation. How many more sessions in the case of the liquidation of the Belgorod and Stary Oskol congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses there will be is still not known. Two sessions are scheduled for this week in provincial court at which several more witnesses are supposed to speak for each side. It is quite possible that a decision in the case for liquidation of the Belgorod Jehovist congregation will be made on 11 February. BELGOROD JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES APPEAL DECISION ON LIQUIDATION OF TWO RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS IN THE RUSSIAN SUPREME COURT Portal-credo.ru, 11 February 2016
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    The decision on the cessation of the activity of the organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod province has not taken effect, but until the final verdict of the Russian Supreme Court, their activity must be suspended. At the same time, this decision does not signify a ban on the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses in Belgorod and Stary Oskol, the press service of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia reported on 11 February. Yesterday, 10 February, the Belgorod provincial court issued a decision for the liquidation of the local religious organization of JW in the city of Stary Oskol, which at the time of liquidation had 11 members. On 11 February, a similar decision was issued regarding the local religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses of the city of Belgorod. The court ignored the position of the European Court for Human Rights, stated in a ruling of 10 June 2010 in the case "Religious society of Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Moscow, et al. v. the Russian federation." The Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia expresses its worry that 11 Jehovah's Witnesses from Stary Oskol and 11 of their fellow believers from Belgorod have been subjected to religious discrimination. The court effectively has not permitted them to present evidence testifying to the contrived nature of the accusations advanced by the prosecutor.
  16. Foreign and defence ministers of the leading international states are meeting in Munich and Brussels following the collapse of the latest round of peace talks
  17. Large-scale military drills across south-west Russia intended to test the troops' readiness amid continuing tensions with the West President Vladimir Putin has scrambled thousands of troops and hundreds of warplanes across southwestern Russia for large-scale military drills intended to test the troops' readiness amid continuing tensions with the West. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that military units were put on combat alert early on Monday, marking the launch of the exercise that involves troops of the Southern Military District. Russian soldiers parachute as part of military drills in the Kostroma region The district includes troops stationed in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as well as forces in the North Caucasus and southwestern regions near the border with Ukraine. Shoigu said the manoeuvres will also engage airborne troops and military transport aviation, as well as the navy. He noted that the drills are intended to check the troops' ability to respond to extremist threats and other challenges. According to Shoigu, who spoke at a meeting with the top military brass, the war games would include redeployment of air force units to advance air bases and bombing runs at shooting ranges. The manoeuvres will test the troops' mobility, with some being deployed to areas up to 3,000 kilometres (1,860 miles) away, the military said. Russian soldiers parachute as part of military drills in the Kostroma region Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said in a statement that up to 8,500 troops, 900 ground weapons, 200 warplanes and about 50 warships will be involved in the drills. The exercises are the latest in a series of major drills intended to strengthen the military's readiness. They have continued despite the nation's economic downturn. Even though a drop in global oil prices has drained the government's coffers and helped drive the economy into recessions, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on the military, funding the purchase of hundreds of new aircraft, tanks and missiles. Russian soldiers take part in military drills in the Kostroma regionhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/vladimir-putin/12149293/Vladimir-Putin-puts-Russian-troops-on-high-alert-as-part-of-massive-military-drills.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter
  18. US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday said Russia had "some constructive ideas" about the implementation of a ceasefire in Syria. Peace talks with Moscow and Damascus were suspended several days earlier when the secretary accused Moscow and Damascus of seeking a military solution to the conflict rather than a political one.
  19. Russian bombers targeted military and intelligence installations in 2013 war game that caught Swedish airforce unprepared Two Tupolev Tu-22M3 strategic bombers escorted by four Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighters crossed the Gulf of Finland and came within 24 miles of Swedish territory off the island of Gotland, 100 miles from Stockholm, on March 29, 2013. They veered off after apparently completing dummy bombing runs against targets believed to include a military base in southern Sweden and the headquarters of Sweden’s signals intelligence agency outside Stockholm. The incident caused controversy in Sweden at the time because the Swedish military was caught unprepared and had to rely on Danish airforce jets, operating as part of a Nato’s Baltic air policing mission, to respond. Nato declined to comment further on the incident, saying it has “nothing to add” to the statement in the report.
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  20. Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia, says that Russia's bombing campaign will continue until "Terrorist organisations" are defeated. (AFP via Yahoo! News)

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