Russian Authorities have Conducted Mass Raids against Jehovah’s Witnesses Across Russia

Russian police have carried out mass raids and arrests against Jehovah’s Witnesses across the country on charges of “extremism.”

Russian police have carried out mass raids and arrests against Jehovah’s Witnesses across the country on charges of “extremism.”

Russia’s national Investigative Committee said that the Christian denomination was suspected of illegally resuming its work in Russia despite an official ban.

Since 2017, the Russian Supreme Court has cracked down on the group by jailing and charging some of its members. 

Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses defended that the Russian center had not resumed activities and that they were being persecuted.

“There is no ‘administrative center’ existing in Russian right now,” said Sivulskiy.

Russian investigators said that searches were already underway in more than 20 different Russian regions in connection with the charges against the group.

According to the Investigative Committee,  members have met privately in a residence in northwest Moscow last June 2019 to discuss and study religious literature relating to their beliefs and converted a few residents. 

Footage released by the Investigative Committee showed agents breaking down a door of a residence then finding a briefcase filled with cash inside.

Sivulskiy added that four members have been arrested so far and that most members have left the country since 2017. 

The Kremlin declined to comment on the recent raids but in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the crackdowns were absurd and called for an investigation. 


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