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  1. Moscow patriarch celebrates Victory Day in Russia PATRIARCH KIRILL BELIEVES THAT GEORGE THE CONQUEROR HELPED RUSSIA WIN THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR Interfax-Religiia, 8 May 2017 Victory in the Great Patriotic War was secured with the participation of celestial forces, Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill thinks. "The last salvos of the Great Patriotic War resounded on the day of St. George the Conqueror (6 May 1945, on which Easter fell—IF). A coincidence? Some think so, but not we, people of faith. Is it really possible to consider it a coincidence that the marshal of the victory was Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov?" the patriarch said after a divine liturgy that he served on the day of the memorial of George the Conqueror in the St. George church on Poklonnaia Gora in Moscow. In the primate's opinion, St. George "through these signs showed to us his presence in our struggle and in our victory." "So on today we also pray to the Greatmartyr St. George, that he would preserve our fatherland from enemies, foreign and domestic, and that he would protect Moscow and strengthen the faith of the residents of this city so that Moscow would become the capital city not only in name but also in the faith of people living within it," he said. The patriarch believes that if the nation will pray to St. George, "Russia will be invincible and the city of Moscow will be great." (tr. by PDS, posted 9 May 2017)
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  3. Jehovah's Witnesses clear out their property WHAT DO JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES OWN IN ST. PETERSBURG? One of the most influential religious organizations in the world has now fallen under a ban in Russia Moskovskii Komsomolets, 5 May 2017 The Supreme Court has actually ruled that the Jehovah's Witnesses conducted extremist activity. Now they are required to cease their work immediately, which they have already done. Further, apparently, there will be new owners of their property. And these believers' property is good, especially in St. Petersburg. People left in tears In the northern capital, which has traditionally been considered to be multi-confessional, a place was found for the Jehovists also. Here they own a dozen hectares of land in Kurort district in the village of Solnechnoe, with dwellings and office buildings. They also own a congress hall with 2,500 seats on Kolomyazh Prospect, building 21, with a hectare of land. And several smaller buildings. The central office of the Russian Jehovists is located in Solnechnoe. In the plan of its arrangement it may be compared with a monastery. Families of clergy worked and lived there. In all, about 300 persons worked in the settlement of the Administrative Center. Now the buildings on the shore of the Finnish Gulf are empty. The inhabitants began leaving with their things as soon as they learned of decision of the court. Many had lived and worked here for years and therefore they departed in tears. "We will challenge the decision, but we do not want to create in the authorities the impression that we are not obeying the court," one of the former leaders of the center explains. Instead of a dump they built a palace There existed the myth that back in the early 1990s Mayor Anatoly Sobchak presented the Witnesses a parcel of 10.5 hectares in Solnechnoe and a hectare on Komomyazh. However, as it turned out, according to documents the religious organization acquired the territory of a former Pioneer Camp in Solnechnoe, which included residences, buildings, and a boiler house, from a construction company for 150 million rubles. According to representatives of the Jehovists, the camp had been completely ruined and they rebuilt it and turned it into a well landscaped lot. At the time, fellow Jehovist believers from Finland, Sweden, and Norway worked on the construction. They brought a Finnish architect. The Scandinavians brought construction materials and hired workers. The construction began in 1992 and by 2002 the entire "camp" was ready. And all of this belonged to citizens of other countries, the Witnesses aver, and therefore it cannot be confiscated. While the construction of the camp was underway, the Witnesses found the land for the Hall of Congresses. Mayor Anatoly Sobchak signed an order to transfer to the Jehovah's Witnesses one hectare on Kolomyazh Prospect. It was leased for 49 years under the condition that for each square meter they were supposed to pay 10 rubles as their contribution to the development of the city. It turned out that the land was not without a surprise—under the future building was found a hazardous waste dump. But the Jehovists paid for the complete disposal of harmful waste. Despite the rumors about the foreign imprint in the immovable property of the Jehovists, according to information of Rosreestr [Russian Register] both the land in Solnechnoe and the hectare on Kolomyazh today are registered to the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. The foreign owners, who might have been able to protect the property of their Russian fellow believers, could not be found. (tr. by PDS, posted 5 May 2017)
  4. {THIS IS FAKE AND UNFORTUNATELY HAS BEEN SPREAD AROUND A LOT. ACCORDING TO "SCAMADVISOR" IT HAS A 73% CHANCE THAT IT ORIGINATED IN GHANA IN AFRICA AND IS NOT TRUE.} President Donald Trump has sent a strong message to the Russia Federation over the country’s ban on the “peaceful activities” of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Trump warns Russia to reverse its decision immediately else he would use the country’s own constitution against them. “You know right that this is contrary to the constitution of the land of the Russia Federation. I request you to reverse the decision immediately before I use your own constitution against you” – Trump warned. Trump went on to invite all Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia to seek asylum in the United States until their religious rights are reinstated in Russia. “As this is an infringement of your fundamental human rights, I therefore urge you to seek asylum in the United States until your rights are fully reinstated.” – Trump urged. Supreme Court judge Yuri Ivanenko reads the decision in a courtroom in Moscow Thursday AP Russia’s Supreme Court ruled on April 20, 2017 that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization should be closed down and no longer allowed to operate legally in Russia, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 Jehovah’s Witness worshippers across Russia, is a serious breach of Russia’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom.
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  5. The office of the Ministry of justice’s Penza region have stopped activity of all four local religious organizations of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» after the Supreme court’s decision banning the work of the main center of the organization in Russia, has informed a press-management service. According to authorities, on the basis of the operative part of the decision of the armed forces office of the Ministry of justice adopted the decision on the termination of two local organizations of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in Penza, as well as one in the cities of Zarechnyy and Nikolsk. «Documents sent to the office of the Federal tax service of the Penza region to the relevant entry in the Unified state register of legal entities», — stated in the message. Russia’s Supreme court on 20 April as extremist activity «administrative center of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia» — the main organization of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in Russia. Sun has banned the work of the centre and confiscated his property. Now the followers of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» are threatened by criminal responsibility for the continuation of its activities. The representatives of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» have declared intention to appeal this decision to the European court of human rights.
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  6. In Southern Russia, the religious communities of Jehovah's Witnesses expect massive persecutions after the judgement of the Russia’s Supreme Court (SC) to liquidate the communities in Russia as extremist ones. The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on April 20 the SC of Russia satisfied the demand of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to liquidate all the 396 religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia as extremist. The believers have treated the verdict as biased and promised to appeal against it. Members of one of the Dagestani communities of Jehovah's Witnesses report that their landlord has cancelled the lease agreement on the premises, used as the place for community meetings in the city of Derbent. According to Nikolai, a member of the community, the landlord made the decision after being summoned by power agents, who threatened him with problems. "They explained to him that should he continue granting premises to the community, he may face problems with doing his business," Nikolai said. According to his story, local power structures "were instructed to collect data about the community members." "We’ve received such information; and I think that collection will begin soon," he explained. Andrei, another member of the Dagestani community of Jehovah's Witnesses, believes that in future the authorities’ pressure on the believers will intensify. In his opinion, "it can go so far as to make us go underground, which had happened more than once" in the history of the religious organization.
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  7. Weeks after Jehovah’s Witnesses was banned and its property confiscated by Russian government over purported links to extremism, a petition jointly opened by Non-governmental Organizations, calling for ban of the Adventist Church, has received over 12 million signatures. A notice at the Moscow City Court says hearings on a proposed ban on Seventh-day Adventist Church would begin in May 2017, according to Fox News 24. The Adventist Church has also been accused of violating an anti-terrorism legislation with their evangelism ministry. The Christian denomination has been grouped with Jehovah’s Witnesses and ISIS as “Extremists and Terrorists” by the various organizations. Ekaterina, a state attorney says “Russia takes cases of Extremism and Terrorism very serious and a ban is expected to be placed on the Adventists in May”. The law — part of a package of anti-terrorism legislation — outlines severe restrictions on evangelistic activity in Russia that, among other things, limit religious activity to registered church buildings and prohibit the free distribution of religious literature. Individuals who disobey face fines of up to 50,000 rubles (U.S.$765), while organizations could be fined up to 1 million rubles ($15,250).’
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  8. How all of this has happened has been documented and discussed at length in this forum:
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  9. The future for Jehovah's Witnesses WITHOUT WITNESSES: HOW WILL JEHOVISTS LIVE AFTER THE BAN IN RUSSIA? "Telegraf" found out what adherents of the Jehovah's Witnesses and experts think with regard to the ban of their activity in Russia by Dmitry Matveev Telegraf, 28 April 2017 On 20 April, the Russian Supreme Court found the activity of the "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" to be extremist and banned its work. Not long before that, the Russian Ministry of Justice put a stop to the work of the central office of the Jehovah's Witnesses organization because of rulings that 95 of the books the organization distributes are extremist. Telegraf talked with adherents of the organization in Russia and abroad and found out how their life will change after the ban. Nobody compels people to become Jehovah's Witnesses by force; they come to the faith by themselves. Anton Chivchalov, an adherent of the Jehovah's Witnesses, described for Telegraf how he became acquainted with this teaching quite by accident back when he was a teenager and found their literature in the home of his grandmother. "It was in Ukraine, Lvov province, the city of Chervonograd. I was immediately attracted by the logic and reasonableness of the presentation. All this contrasted sharply with the perception of religion that I had before that: something gloomy, confused, mixed with strange rituals, 'for old ladies,' and so forth," Anton explained. He wrote a letter to the Jehovah's Witnesses' affiliate in Germany and requested literature, which he quickly received. Anton said that for some time he corresponded with believers from another city and then he began to study the Bible more seriously and to attend meetings, first in Ukraine and later in Russia. In 1996 he himself received baptism as a follower of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Originally he was attracted by the reasonableness, clarity, logic, and integrity in its teaching. "Before this, my religion was associated with stupidities like holy water which my grandmother fed me (incidentally, later she also became a Jehovah's Witness). But I unexpectedly discovered for myself that the Bible gives absolutely reasonable answers to important questions and formulates an integral and logical picture of the world. For example, before that I did not find anywhere a more logical explanation for the nature of evil than in the Bible," Anton Chivchalov explained. He added that if one speaks about Jehovah's Witnesses as people, then he sees among them genuine Christian qualities. "These are brotherly love, mutual help, a serious attitude to the study of the Bible, treating it as a handbook and guide for all areas of life, and zeal in the work of evangelism. All of this is today in great deficit among other Christian churches," Anton explained. The follower of Jehovah's Witnesses said that in his family people are sufficiently educated to be able to respect the religious convictions of other people. "My grandmother and my younger brother also became Jehovah's Witnesses and my mother is now actively interested in the faith," he explained. "Jehovah's Witnesses will submit an appeal of the decision of the Supreme Court, including in the European Court for Human Rights, and therefore not everything is so unambiguous. "If there is an unfavorable outcome for us, we will not be able to conduct large worship services and we will not be able to use the houses of worship that we built, nor to import literature. Of course, in a law-based state in the 21st century, freedom of religious confession should not look like that," Anton considers. At the same time, he thinks that the matter will not come to mass imprisonments, but it may come to mass fines, warnings from prosecutors, acts of vandalism, dismissals from work, confiscations, humiliations in law enforcement agencies and insults. "Unfortunately all this has already begun, even before the decision of the Supreme Court. Here much will depend on the position of specific officials in places," Anton Chivchalov explained. He said that our government thinks that law enforcement agencies should hunt for defenseless women with Bibles and not catch criminals. Anton explained that he has no fear. "We try to remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: 'They persecuted me and they will persecute you also.' Each person, coming to Christian faith, should be psychologically prepared for persecution. And Jehovah's Witnesses do not entertain historical experience; after all we went through much more severe soviet and hitlerian repressions," Anton explained. "What do I feel? I feel great responsibility to do all that I can in order to help my brothers and sisters in Russia, to sanctify God's name and establish his kingdom. This is the main thing that we do in whatever country we live in and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. This is what always unites us as a world brotherhood," the follower of Jehovah's Witnesses summed up. The ban of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia shocked the world community. Sergei Afanasiev, an adherent of Jehovah's Witnesses living in Ukraine, said that the ban of the organization in Russia was a shocking experience for the whole world. Jehovah's Witnesses are known as peaceful citizens, who do not participate in political activity and categorically oppose violence. This means that the Jehovah's Witnesses do not have a political lobby and they are neutral and submit to any government. And it is for this reason that our situation in a country is a marker of religious liberty. Usually persecutions in authoritarian countries begin with Jehovah's Witnesses, but they never end with them," Sergei said. As regards citizens of Ukraine, the ban of Jehovah's Witnesses evoked diverse reactions. "Even those people who categorically disagree with the views of Jehovah's Witnesses condemned this ban and sympathize with Jehovah's Witnesses. Such people are the majority," Sergei explained. He said that it is still unknown when and which actions the government will take against Jehovah's Witnesses. "What is already now is they are sealing up buildings and believers who gather in their own homes for reading and discussing the Bible are issued prosecutorial warnings. That is, my fellow believers can expect very difficult times," he explained. Sergei does not think that the authorities will immediately start criminal prosecution of believers with real criminal sentences. For now public opinion or the reaction of the world community will not permit doing this. "However it is not necessary to imprison; Jehovah's Witnesses who wind up in the list of extremists will be deprived of work, the right to business activity, and the right to have bank accounts and to get credit. This is quite enough in order to turn peaceful and honest citizens into outcasts," he says. Jehovah's Witnesses are law-abiding and they respect authority, whatever it is and however they are treated. Sergei Afanasiev says that followers of the teaching will not organize pickets or protest demonstrations. They will not be saboteurs, spies, terrorists, or pests. They will continue to be peaceful and honest people, and the only opposition will consist in their continuing to believe, gather together, fellowship, and speak about their faith with others. He said that if Jehovah's Witnesses are imprisoned, they will be model prisoners. "This is known from historical experience. In nazi camps, Jehovah's Witnesses accepted the rules of camp order as the law of the state and they obeyed them very precisely, but without violating their own principles. The Jehovah's Witness Elza Abt, a prisoner of Auschwitz, wrote in her memoirs that during the evacuation of the camp in January 1945, she and other women Jehovah's Witnesses were put on an ordinary passenger train. The convoy allowed them to occupy seats in various cars and practically did not guard them. They did not know the locality and they accidentally missed the station where they were supposed to transfer to another train. If they had escaped, nobody would look for them. But Elza and several of her fellow believers turned themselves in to the first SS they met and were put into the right camp. If they had acted differently, it would have placed the lives of hundreds of their fellow believers at risk," Sergei Afanasiev said. He added that all Jehovah's Witnesses' property is supposed to be confiscated. But the Kingdom Halls that the Jehovah's Witnesses use have various forms of ownership and some of them belong to foreign legal entities. That is, confiscating immovable property will not be as simple as the Ministry of Justice suggests. Practically all the buildings that the Jehovah's Witnesses use were built by the adherents themselves and wth their donations. "In light of this, confiscation of the property of religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses will possibly seem even more savage and blasphemous than the confiscation of property from the Orthodox Church after 1917," Sergei Afanasiev summed up. The ban of the Jehovah's Witnesses was a purely political decision, and the Russian Orthodox Church had nothing to do with it. "As regards possible pressure on the political authorities on the part of the RPTs, the dominant religious tradition in the country, which has a ramified structure, with the aim of eliminating competitors and changing the general cultural and world view field, and the public space and information field is saturated with these speculations. I think that they all are far from the truth, and on the "political" level everything is not so far," Viliam Shmidt, a professor of the Russian Academy of State Service and a religious studies scholar, explained for Telegraf. The expert said that adherents of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are not as many as adherents of religiosity that is untraditional for Russia on the whole. "For the RPTs it would be more desirable if such small, untraditional religions did not have the status of 'religious,' but this is impossible, the religious studies scholar explained. In the event of a ban, Jehovah's Witnesses will go underground. "What is expected from the Jehovah's Witnesses after the ban? A rather strange question. What can one expect from 'fundamentalist' pacifists? They will live as before, to be sure now without the right of public associations. A large portion of them will find themselves in a compulsory shadow, in 'the religious underground,' as it was in the soviet period, when religious traditions were fought as public worldview vestiges. In the 21st century, fighting with ideas, not of a social and political order but of a metaphysical one, at the state level, is unfortunately extremely vulgar political views and practices," Viliam Shmidt concluded. (tr. by PDS, posted 1 May 2017)
  10. Russian parliament notices American concern for Jehovah's Witnesses U.S.A. THREATENS RUSSIA WITH NEW SANCTIONS BECAUSE OF BAN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES Parlamentskaia Gazeta, 29 April 2017 The federal commission on religious liberty of the U.S.A. came to a conclusion about the necessity of including Russia among countries "evoking special concern" because of violation of citizens' rights to freedom on conscience, TASS reports. In the annual report presented by the commission, it is noted that Russia for the first time has been included in the list of countries in which international nongovernmental organizations have identified cases of incidents of violations of religious liberty "bearing a systematic and continual character." The accusations of American public leaders arose also because of the fact that Moscow, in their opinion, has tried to determine the policy of freedom of conscience in the territory of a neighboring state, interfering in the discussion of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the so-called Kiev patriarchate. The authors of the document also express concern in connection with the ruling in Russia of the community of Jehovah's Witnesses to be an extremist organization. Considering the aforementioned incidents, members of the commission consider the possibility of appealing to American authorities to recommend effecting a change in Moscow's position by using individual sanctions of a humanitarian nature. The U.S.A. Commission for Religious Liberty represents itself as a bi-partisan consultative agency within the federal American government, which is authorized to make political recommendations to the head of state, the secretary of state, and members of Congress. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 April 2017)
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  11. Posted By: starconnectApril 29, 2017 Emmanuel Thomas l Saturday, April 29, 2017 The President, Vice President and the the first families paid the visit days after Russia, through its Supreme Court slammed a ban on activities of Jehovah’s witnesses and liquidated it throughout the federation. Trump stayed for the meeting shook hands with members of the congregation after the meeting. According to ans.cnewsgo.com, a US-based outfit, the president picked Watchtower and Awake magazines on the open counter and left with the magazines. He did not give any speech but he is seen to be on a fact finding mission. His presence was acknowledged by an announcement. His presence expectedly lead to a surge in attendance on Thursday evening during the Life and Ministry Programme.
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  12. Fourteen years ago, Don Ossewaarde and his wife Ruth, moved to the Russian city of Oryol. "My area is 250 miles south of Moscow and they're very, very communist," Ossewaarde told CBN News in his first American TV interview last November. "They (people of Oryol) have a very Soviet mentality in that area." They were Baptist missionaries who believed God was calling them to move to Russia. "I'm there to give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to tell them of the good news of salvation," Ossewaarde said. But on Sunday morning, August 14, 2016, their missionary work came to a screeching halt. "I had been expecting it for three weeks before that, and then when they (police) walked in; I thought, 'Ok, here goes.'" Twenty-five days before that incident, on July 20, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new amendments to a law that govern religious life. Continue reading
  13. Baptist leader sympathizes with Jehovah's Witnesses INTERVIEW: EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN-BAPTIST PASTOR YURY SIPKO by Vladimir Oivin Portal-Credo.Ru, 24 April 2017 --Vladimir Oivin: How do you assess the decision of the Russian Supreme Court for banning the activity of Jehovah's Witnesses? --Yury Sipko: If the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court, then the fate of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses was decided beforehand. At least, I did not see in the actions of our authorities on this matter some kind of reasonable legal basis. All these actions are politicized, intended for the infringement of liberties, both religious, and political, and civil. This decision is obviously illegal; it contradicts the constitutional norm, but fits the general trend: the ground is cleared, the territory of freedom is reduced to the limit, and only those who fit within we framework of the chekist [secret police] worldview have the right to life. Nevertheless, it is very bitter. I am extremely distressed, no matter what. --What awaits the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses in the near future? --As people of faith they will live even in prison conditions, as it once was. Officially, of course, the judicial decision with confiscation of property, practically equating this organization with a terrorist one—this is a disgrace; it simply does not lend itself to either commentary or explanation. But people in the future also will believe; for them all these persecutions are not terrible; they have profound convictions. And here the Russian authorities only gave themselves a good licking, discrediting the judicial and legal system. I am embarrassed for the country in which such hooligans rule. --Can a mass emigration of believers now begin? --Whoever understands and has such an opportunity has already emigrated long ago. But a mass exodus is a complex thing. I do not see the energy among our people that is enough for an exodus or a protest. There is only a long-dead legal consciousness, long-dead civic responsibility; there is a state of slavish obedience. And it is this state that is the cause of violence. But this is only the "beginning of sorrows," and the "great tribulation" is still ahead. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 April 2017)
  14. Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, Italians evangelicals take a stand The Commission of evangelical churches for relations with the state: "How Italian evangelicals consider religious freedom a fundamental and inalienable right" Of Agency NEV - April 28, 2017 0 3702 Facebook Twit Rome (NEV), 28 April 2017 - "How Italian evangelicals consider religious freedom a fundamental and inalienable right. Just because they are victims of persecution or discrimination, Italians Evangelicals represented in the Commission of evangelical churches for relations with the State (CCERS) protesting against the decision to ban the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and confiscation of their property in Russia ". Thus begins the declaration adopted yesterday by CCERS at its meeting on April 27, referring to the judgment with which the Russian Supreme Court has effectively "banned" religious minority from the territory of the Russian Federation. "We express even deep concern for the reason given by the Russian authorities - he continues CCERS statement - which, without contesting specific crimes, justified the measure as the preaching of Jehovah's Witnesses constitute a 'threat to the rights of citizens, for the 'public order and public safety'. As Italian Protestants - said the document - do not forget that in our country less than a century ago, similar accusations were directed not only against the Jehovah's Witnesses, also of Jews and Pentecostals, and based on those accusations you wrote a page shameful in the history of our country and Europe. We hope that the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, already begun by Jehovah's Witnesses, to re-establish a principle of fundamental and inalienable freedoms for all civil and democratic state ". At this time the president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), pastore Luca Maria Negro (which by statute is also president of CCERS), signed the appeal that the Italian section of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty ( AIDLR ) launched about, and that will be delivered into the hands of the Russian ambassador in Rome, Sergey Razov .
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  15. Нижегородскую Церковь летающего макаронного монстра официально признали Минюст РФ признал деятельность Церкви летающего макаронного монстра, которая находится в Нижнем Новгороде. С просьбой о регистрации в министерство обратился глава объединения Михаил Иосилевич. В ответ он получил официальное уведомление о том, что Церковь летающего макаронного монстра внесена в ведомственный реестр. В документе указали адрес места проведения богослужений, церемоний и других обрядов, сообщает сайт «Комсомольской правды». Церковь летающего макаронного монстра или пастафарианство — пародийная религия, основанная в 2005 году в США. Ее сторонники верят в Летающего макаронного монстра, напоминающего макароны с тефтелями. В России первый храм пастафарианцев открылся в Нижнем Новгороде в марте 2016 года. source
  16. Website of Russian Ministry of Justice posts results of trial DOCUMENT: FOR THE INFORMATION OF CITIZENS ADDRESSING THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF JUSTICE REGARDING THE RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION "ADMINISTRATIVE CENTER OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN RUSSIA" In connection with numerous appeals to the Russian Ministry of Justice from citizens of the Russian federation and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States on questions of the activity of the religious organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia," the Russian Ministry of Justice reports the following. In the period from 8 to 27 February 2017 the Russian Ministry of Justice conducted an unscheduled documentary inspection of the compliance of the activity of the religious organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" with the goals and task declared in its charter and with legislation of the Russian federation. As a result of the inspection, it was established that the activity of the aforesaid organization is conducted with violations of the charter goals and tasks and also of current legislation of the Russian federation, including the federal law of 25 July 2002, "On combating extremist activity." Thus, 95 materials of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which had been imported and distributed on the territory of the Russian federation since 2009 were found to be extremist. In the same period, 8 local religious organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses were found to be extremist and were liquidated. In connection with this, on 2 March 2016 the office of the prosecutor general of the Russian federation issued to the organization a warning in accordance with article 7 of the federal law "On combating extremist activity." Said warning was appealed by the organization in court, but it was ruled to be legal and reasonable. On 15 March 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice filed in the Supreme Court of the Russian federation an administrative plaintiff's declaration for finding the organization to be extremist, banning its activity, and liquidating it and removing information from the Uniform State Register of Legal Entities. On 20 April 2017, the Supreme Court of the Russian federation granted the administrative plaintiff's declaration of the Russian Ministry of Justice for finding the religious organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" to be extremist and banning its activity. 24 April 2017 (tr. by PDS, posted 27 April 2017) Russian original posted on official website of Russian Ministry of Justice, 24 April 2017 {THIS NOW MEANS OUR BROTHERS CAN LEGALLY FILE THE APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURTS DECISION]
  17. MARCH 21, 2017 RUSSIA, Jehovah’s Witnesses Mobilize Global Response to Threat of Ban in Russia ! Make your participation a matter of prayer.—1 Tim. 2:1-4. Personal letters should be mailed no later than April 1, 2017. Send a personal letter to one or more of the officials listed at the end of these instructions. You may send more than one letter to the same official: scroll down to the ADDRESSES.... NEW YORK—Threatened with an imminent ban on their worship in Russia, Jehovah’s Witnesses are responding with a direct appeal to Kremlin and Supreme Court officials for relief through a global letter-writing campaign. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is inviting the over 8,000,000 Witnesses worldwide to participate. On March 15, 2017, Russia’s Ministry of Justice filed a claim with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to label the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia as extremist and liquidate it. The claim also seeks to ban the activities of the Administrative Center. If the Supreme Court upholds this claim, the Witnesses’ national headquarters near St. Petersburg will be shut down. Subsequently, some 400 registered Local Religious Organizations would be liquidated, outlawing the services of over 2,300 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The branch property, as well as places of worship used by Witnesses throughout the country, could be seized by the State. Additionally, individual Jehovah’s Witnesses would become subject to criminal prosecution for merely carrying out their worship activities. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the claim on April 5. “The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses wants to heighten attention to this critical situation,” states David A. Semonian, a spokesman at the Witnesses’ world headquarters. “Prosecuting non-violent, law-abiding citizens as if they were terrorists is clearly a misapplication of anti-extremist laws. Such prosecution is based on completely false grounds.” The Witnesses’ global campaign is not without precedent. Nearly 20 years ago, Witnesses wrote to defend their fellow worshippers in Russia in response to a smear campaign by some members of the government in power at the time. Additionally, Witnesses have initiated past letter-writing campaigns to motivate government officials to end persecution of Witnesses in other countries, including Jordan, Korea, and Malawi. “Reading the Bible, singing, and praying with fellow worshippers is clearly not criminal,” adds Mr. Semonian. “We hope that our global letter-writing campaign will motivate Russian officials to stop this unjustifiable action against our fellow worshippers.” Letter-Writing Campaign Supporting Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia Instruction Sheet March 20, 2017 Format  If you own a personal business, you may use business letterhead.  Use your own language. There is no need to have letters translated into Russian. If you are fluent in Russian, you may write letters in Russian.  Letters should be one page in length and should be typewritten or neatly handwritten.  Give attention to proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.—be pp. 71-73.  Add your personal signature to the letter.  No copies of letters need to be sent to the elders, to the branch office, or to anyone else.  Literature should not be included.  Use your personal return address on the envelope. Be sure that the address of the official you are writing to matches that listed at the end of these instructions.  Send by postal mail with sufficient international postage. Do not use e-mail. Content.  You are writing to the official to request his intervention. Express the hope that the Russian authorities will stop the legal action being taken against the branch office and the congregations in Russia so that our brothers and sisters can continue to gather peacefully for Christian meetings without interference. You could express appreciation for the laws of the Russian government that guarantee freedom of religion to all citizens.  Letters should be candid but respectful. Summarize key facts in your own words. Letters may refer to one or two facts listed below or more recent information published on jw.org. Keep in mind that “a mild answer turns away rage,” and “a gentle tongue can break a bone.”—Prov. 15:1; 25:15.  You could briefly mention how our meetings and publications have benefited you personally and your family. Do not mention the names of individuals in Russia who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Facts  On March 15, 2017, the Ministry of Justice in Russia filed a claim with the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation seeking “to declare the religious organization, the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses, extremist, ban its activity, and liquidate it.” A decision by the Supreme Court in favor of this claim will have dire consequences for all of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The Administrative Center and 400 local legal entities used to own or rent Kingdom Halls would be dissolved. This means that the branch Instruction Sheet March 20, 2017 Page 2 property in St. Petersburg and Kingdom Halls throughout the country could be seized by the State. In addition, each of the more than 170,000 Witnesses could be criminally prosecuted merely for meeting for worship, reading the Bible together, or talking to others about their faith.  Russia’s “Federal Law on Extremist Activity” is being misapplied to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to be good citizens. We are known worldwide for our peaceful activities, and under no circumstances would we ever resort to any activity that could legitimately be construed as “extremist” or criminal in nature.  The activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the publications that we produce encourage love of God and neighbor, love for family, and respect for government. There is absolutely nothing “extremist” or criminal in such Bible-based publications. Addresses:  President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin 23 Ilyinka Str. - Moscow Russian Federation 103132  Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev 2 Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya Moscow Russian Federation 103274  Prosecutor General Yury Yakovlevich Chayka Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation 15A Bolshaya Dmitrovka Str. Moscow Russian Federation GSP-3 125993  Minister of Justice Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation 14 Zhitnaya Str. Moscow Russian Federation GSP-1 119991  Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation 32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square Moscow Russian Federation 119200  The Chairman of the Supreme Court Viacheslav Mikhailovich Lebedev Supreme Court of Russian Federation 15 Povarskaya Str. Moscow Russian Federation 121069
  18. Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov (in Russian: Алекса́ндр Влади́мирович Конова́лов, born 9 June 1968) is a Russian lawyer and politician. Since May 2008, he is minister of justice. Early life and education Konovalov was born 9 June 1968 in Leningrad.[1]In 1992, he graduated from the law department of Saint Petersburg State University.[2] Career From 1992 to 2005 Konovalov served in Saint Petersburg prosecutor's office. From February to November 2005 he was the chief prosecutor of Bashkortostan. Since 14 November 2005, he has been President Vladimir Putin's plenipotentiary envoy to the Volga Federal District. In May 2008 he was appointed the minister of justice.[3]
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    source That is no excuse for the judicial execution the Russian state has just performed on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it was a decision made at the top by the political, ecclesiastical and judicial elites, including the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill. It was not the state’s response to a nonexistent, utterly imaginary “popular will.” TRR source Anti-Missionary Law In Russia (Ministry of Justice Alexander Konovalov, received his theological education at Saint Tikhon Orthodox University)
  19. ST PETERSBURG, Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses of Kolomyazhski Perspective. Within a few hours after the verdict two cars full of crazies have traveled to the Assembly Hall. The cars were arranged so as to block the entrance to the room. The Haunting began screaming and yelling offensive phrases against Jehovah's Witnesses. In the absence of any reaction to their provocations they began throwing stones and causing damage to the structure. The photos bear witness to the passage of the possessed. The lawyers of the process branch had predicted that events would take such a turn. So who are the extremists? We are seeing a new Kristallnacht? Another report below: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Interview with Yaroslav Sivulsky, member of governing body of the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia BY ADMIN_HRWF Portal-Credo.ru (21.04.2017) –
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    – Portal-Credo.Ru: What are the very first practical consequences of the decision of the Supreme Court of the RF regarding your liquidation? Yaroslav Sivulsky: One can say with certainty that we will not be able to conduct our big events—district and regional congresses, which we conduct three times a year, because our activity will not only be suspended but it is prohibited according to the court. In essence, this part of the decision is taking effect immediately. And if our houses of worship are confiscated, then regular meetings of congregations, which are conducted weekly, also will be impossible. Most likely, only one option remains—that is to meet in private homes of fellow believers. But this is a serious restriction of freedom. Have any excesses arisen in the wake of yesterday’s decision and the “informational campaign” to arouse hostility toward Jehovah’s Witnesses in the news media that accompanies it? –Today we learned that our Hall of Congresses in St. Petersburg was stoned, glass was broken, and serious physical damage was caused. From the regions we are receiving reports that some of our houses of worship have already been sealed. For example, in Crimea just yesterday police came to the house of worship, interrupted a meeting, and sealed the building. But these are only the starters; all this will come to fruition and around the country a wave of violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses is rising. How is the Administrative Center now functioning? –In essence, it ceased its usual activity: bank accounts are frozen, and work is not being conducted any longer in the offices. We are following the court’s decision and we cannot do anything else for now. Will you continue evangelistic work in Russia, and if so, in what forms? –We call this activity witnessing. Our fellow believers witness about what is written in the Bible, and it seems to me now this should be the personal decision of each of our fellow believers in the country, how they will act in the future. They should take account of certain consequences that participation in religious activity may entail, but practice will show that no decision of courts will be able to restrain a Christian from performing the task which Jesus Christ or God commanded of acquainting other people with God’s standards, with his intentions, and with his personality. Most likely, this activity will continue. Perhaps in a somewhat less explicit form. The status of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was equated in the Russian federation to the Islamic State . . . –Actually, the boundary between real and virtual extremism has been washed away. Many times such statements of our defenders have been voiced in the Supreme Court: Jehovah’s Witnesses are accused of virtual or literal extremism. It is clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not any kind of extremists; they are very far from this. On the contrary, they proclaim respect for people and love. Jesus said: “By this they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” and not hatred. Jehovah’s Witnesses treat people of other faiths and other nations with respect. If you come to an international congress of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you will see the greatest diversity of skin color and the greatest diversity of nationalities—and they all hug each other and get along amicably. Is it true that on the eve of this court decision you made some attempts to rearrange the property belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations in order to save it from confiscation? –Some small attempts were made. But it seems that this was blocked. However before the court’s decision takes effect there is still a lot of time, but all operations with our immovable property are suspended so that we have no chances for rewriting or rearranging anything. That means that for you there is already nowhere to return to your workplace? –Essentially, yes. Interview conducted by Vladimir Oivin, Portal-Credo.Ru. (tr. by PDS, posted 23 April 2017)
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  20. The head of the Office for democratic institutions and human rights (ODIHR) Michael link expressed concern about the recognition in Russia the organization «Jehovah’s Witnesses» extremist, reads the statement of the ODIHR. «I’m worried about unjustified criminalization of peaceful activities of the members of the communities of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» in Russia, the elimination of this community in the country», — quotes the Link to his press service. «The Supreme court’s decision poses a threat to the values and principles upon which a democratic, free, open, pluralistic and tolerant society,» he said. In turn, the representative of the OSCE Chairman on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination Ingeborg Gabriel stated that «the prohibition, the persecution of innocent people for a simple service, clearly violates the fundamental right to freedom of religion, and with it international standards of human rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, so it must as soon as possible to reconsider». Also ODIHR has expressed concern that the police stopped a religious service of «Jehovah’s Witnesses». «I urge the Russian authorities to provide observance of the right to freedom of religion or belief, opinion and expression, peaceful Assembly and associations of persons belonging to the community «Jehovah’s Witnesses». Their rights must be respected in accordance with OSCE commitments and international law in the field of human rights,» said Linc. The Russian armed forces, 20 APR recognized extremist activity «administrative center of Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia» and forbade its performance. The representatives of «Jehovah’s Witnesses» have declared intention to appeal this decision to the European court of human rights. In defense of the organization by the German foreign Ministry and the foreign service of the EU. Source
  21. Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke to reporters following a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghan in Kabul about an attack on Afghan soldiers inside a mosque. In his comments Secretary Mattis said if the Taliban wants to engage in the political process, they need to renounce the violence and reject terrorism. On Russia’s role, he added that the U.S. and NATO will confront Russia if reports of assistance to the Taliban are true and violate international law. Afghanistan military operations commander General John Nicholson also took part in the news conference.

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