«We all have within us a centre of stillness surrounded by silence. This house (United Nations), dedicated to work and debate in the service of peace, should have one room dedicated to silence in the outward sense and stillness in the inner sense. It has been the aim to create in this small room a place where the doors may open to the infinite lands of thought and prayer.»

Dag Hammerskjold Former United Nations Secretary General

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This is what it's like to be a Jehova's Witness in Russia

Sep 1st, 2017

The current Russia ruled by Putin is an Orthodox-based state. This has brought about the banning of certain religious groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ since according to the banning passed by the Supreme Court, the religious movement is actually considered a group of religious “extremists” the same name given to ISIS members as well as the neo-Nazis.

This has been a challenge for worshipers of Jehovah as they have not been able to worship their God in peace. Having to undergo different challenges such as police brutality, raiding of Kingdom Halls as well as private homes, injustice, among many other vices done to the group. Appeals to try to counteract the law have all been rejected hence leading to the continuation of state sponsored persecution of the so-called-foreign-influenced religion.

As the saying goes, history repeats itself. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ have been under attack for decades. The situation has become worse under Putin as it just reminds the state of the worst days of Stalinism except that during Stalin’s era, the dispute was between the secularists and Jehovah’s Witnesses while today the threat is normally between the Russian Orthodox and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

STRATEGIES PUT IN PLACE FOR KEEPING THE FAITH AND WORSHIPING

As much as the government might have outlawed the religious movement, they have found a loophole around the system and it has ended up working for most if not all the time.

Some loopholes the believers were able to come up with include:

Entering a place of worship or building in pairs or groups of three to avoid unwanted attention.

Visiting different homes on different meeting days as it makes it difficult for the government to locate them or track.

Having fake food and posing in the name of having a food party as the food is not touched until the end of the event.

Since the practicing of this religion is illegal, the worshipers normally download the bible app into their smart phones as even importing this type of bible is illegal.

Having translators of the bible from to avoid a language barrier problem.

Having muted services where they will not have praise and worship services or have any noise that may attract unwanted attention.

Have vodka nearby to quickly drink just in case the authority shows up the may swallow quickly and their breath may make the police believe it is just a gathering of drunkards.

EFFECTS OF THE PERSECUTION

As much as there has been a lot of persecution among the worshipers of the Jehovah’s Witness, this has just made them more resilient, and they still are sharing the gospel with other individuals through proselytizing. They believe that if they were able to survive during different reigns of different leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, The Gulags as well as Siberia, then there is a God.