Here's an article in the Moscow Times, publish April 27 2018
Russia’s Crackdown on Jehovah’s Witnesses Begins With a Foreigner
"The men who stormed into the hall were armed with handguns and clad
in masks and bullet proof vests, as if prepared for a shootout. Inside,
several dozen worshipers, many of whom were children or elderly, were in
the midst of a Bible reading.
The raid, led by the police and
Federal Security Services (FSB) officers last May in Oryol, targeted the
Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination known for its strict
interpretation of the Bible. A month earlier, a Supreme Court decision
had declared it an extremist group, putting it on par with violent
terrorist organizations like Islamic State.
Witnesses in recent years had increasingly come under the authorities’
spotlight. Analysts told The Moscow Times that the group had been swept
up in Russia’s drive to reign in minority religious groups that rival
the Orthodox Church and oppose President Vladimir Putin’s militaristic
brand of patriotism.
But the crackdown on the Jehovah’s Witnesses,
analysts said, did not take off in earnest until the raid in Oryol. It
marked the first arrest following the Supreme Court ruling, notably of a
Danish citizen, Dennis Christensen, who had been leading the Bible
reading that late spring evening.
On Monday, after being held in a
pre-trial detention center for 11 months, the proceedings, which his
lawyers say could last up to three months, finally began. Fighting
charges of extremism, Christensen faces up to 10 years in prison."