MARCH 8, 2017
On February 21, 2017, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation issued a new order to the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. The Ministry is now demanding that the Administrative Center provide information on all 2,277 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout Russia.
The Ministry of Justice issued this latest order while it was conducting an inspection of the Administrative Center, ordered by the Prosecutor General’s Office. During that inspection, authorities focused only on the legal entities that the Witnesses use. These entities include the Administrative Center itself as well as Local Religious Organizations, which congregations use to hold title to properties for religious services. On February 27, 2017, the Ministry of Justice concluded its inspection and reported that the Administrative Center violated the law and showed signs of engaging in “extremist activity.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world are gravely concerned for their fellow believers in Russia. With this second order, the Ministry of Justice has turned its attention to the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Based on the authorities’ latest actions, the Witnesses believe that the Prosecutor General is moving not only to liquidate all legal entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia but also to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the Russian Federation.