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April 20, 2017: Judge Ivanenko of Russia’s Supreme Court announces decision to shut down the legal entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and Crimea

APRIL 19, 2022

Courageous and Victorious Despite Five-Year Ban in Russia

Courageous and Victorious Despite Five-Year Ban in Russia

Brother Dennis Christensen in a courtroom holding cell during his appeal hearing in May 2019

April 20, 2022, will mark the fifth anniversary of Russia’s unjust ban on the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses. a Russian authorities have intensified the persecution each year since the ban was established—at times even resorting to torture. Yet, as shown by the reports on, our dear brothers and sisters have courageously endured.

Brother Dennis Christensen, who has been behind bars for nearly five years, has set a fine example. Immediately after losing his appeal in May 2019, he calmly and confidently spoke to all of the brothers and sisters who came to support him in court, saying: “I’ve tried to serve Jehovah the best way that I could. I will do that forever.”

Brother Igor Turik

Brother Igor Turik has the same determination. He recalls meeting Brother Nikolay Kalibaba, who was persecuted during the Soviet era. Nikolay taught Igor that trials allow Jehovah’s people to see how he provides assistance. Igor relates, “It was clear to me that it is a privilege to suffer for the faith.” Igor continues to endure as he serves a seven-year suspended prison sentence.

Brother Yevgeniy Fedin explains his conviction: “Now is not the time to fight for personal justice. We need to give a witness—Jehovah will restore justice. We are fighting for a blessing . . . These thoughts help me to have the right attitude toward these trials, regardless of their outcome. Each trial is an opportunity to glorify Jehovah and give a witness.”

Sister Tatyana Zhuk

Likewise, Sister Tatyana Zhuk says: “When we think about what we have overcome, our willingness to endure these trials continues. It proves that Jehovah is with us. It would be impossible to maintain our joy under these present circumstances without the help of our heavenly Father.”

“We are victors!” says Yevgeniy, quoted earlier. “We go into the detention center and come out victorious. We go to court and come out victorious. We go to prison and come out victorious.”

Just before the 2017 ban was announced, Dr. Emily Baran, historian and expert on Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Soviet Union, wrote: “If history is any guide, Russia will find it nearly impossible to eliminate Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

It is clear that the prophecy at Isaiah 54:17 is proving true for our brothers and sisters in Russia and Crimea: “No weapon formed against [them] will have any success.”

a During the Supreme Court hearing, the Russian government claimed that although it was liquidating the legal entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses, individual Witnesses would be free to practice their faith. However, the government’s actions are inconsistent with this claim.