FEBRUARY 11, 2013 | RUSSIA
On April 16, 2012, in the city of Perm’ in central Russia, Aleksandr Solovyov, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, faced a fine of 1,000 rubles (about $30 U.S.) for arranging ‘unauthorized religious services’ in a rented hall.
The district court judge, after listening attentively to all the “evidence” against Solovyov, overturned the decision of a lower court and canceled the fine.
The judge read the decision and then turned to the vindicated Witness and said: “
Despite inconsistent legislation and the prejudiced view of some individuals, we are not living in 1937 when we can simply close our eyes to the obvious facts. May our society become more virtuous and morally upright thanks to the educational work you are doing.”
In July 1937, Soviet dictator Stalin issued Order 00447, setting in motion a time of terror. Those perceived to have dissenting views were rounded up and tried at meaningless show trials. Official records indicate that tens of thousands were sent to work camps and over 300,000 were condemned to death and executed.