You can defeat lies with truth. But you can only suppress truth with censorship.
Watchtower bans JWs from visiting apostate sites and reading apostate literature. Banning is the tool of the weak and the cowardly, those lacking the courage and/or strength to defeat the enemy face to face. We ban - quarantine - infected ebola patients from the rest of the population because it's a strong disease and we lack a cure for it. Banning a religion only makes it seem strong, and the one doing the banning - a weak coward. But isn't the Watchtower religion actually very weak. Yes, it's a strong and smooth talker but it is weak, lacking in substance. It is built on lies - 607 BCE, 1914, 1919 FDS appointment, etc. In the fight between truth and lies, the lie is the weak coward and the truth is the invincible, courageous fighter.
What chance does a weak coward stand in a fight with an invincible courageous fighter? None. His only option is to run and hide from the invincible fighter. Provable truth is the invincible courageous warrior and lies fostered by ignorance is the weak coward. Thus, Watchtower, on the side of the weak coward, runs and hides from those on the side of truth - the apostates. How? By censorship. By banning apostate information. It's the only workable option they have because they can't directly refute the truths exposed by apostates. Because provable truth always defeats lies fostered by ignorance, hands down.
But if the weak coward is running and hiding how is the invincible fighter to defeat him? The invincible, courageous fighter must find the weak coward in order to defeat him. Imagine if the invincible fighter thought he could defeat the coward by refusing to fight him and instead gets a restraining order to prevent the coward from coming within 100 feet of him. What would people think? 'Oh, I guess that so-called invincible fighter is worried that he can't win in a fight with that so-called coward, huh. Maybe that so-called weak coward is actually a badass in chicken's feathers ...'. That's analogous to what the Russian government is doing. By outlawing the JWs the government is actually drawing more curiosity and interest in the religion than the JWs themselves are able to do by their own preaching efforts - you know what they say about forbidden fruits...
It's a battle between truth and lies, strength and weakness, knowledge and ignorance. Banning promotes/fosters/continues ignorance and thus serves the side of the lie. Openness promotes the flow of information - paving the roadway for truth to walk up and face the lie square on and fight him. So banning is not the solution. Openness is. The Russian government - all governments - need to deal with religious cults by being more open with the population as a whole. How? There needs to be greater emphasis in schools on the subject of critical thinking and identifying logical fallacies. There also needs to be rigorous education campaigns sensitizing the public about the subject of cults and coercive persuasion. That's fighting the cults head on by inoculating minds (Inoculating vulnerable populations with an ebola vaccine is so much better at fighting the disease, than quarantining victims after infection, don't you think? Isn't that how polio was almost eradicated?) Make it illegal for parents to not send their children to state accredited schools, and make education on critical thinking and cult tactics mandatory subjects in all schools with state accreditation. All cults will be defeated this way - without having to ban anyone; without having to single out any cult by name and making them feel like special martyrs.
How can any cult fight this? They can't take their children out of the schools to prevent them from being educated in critical thinking and the dangers of cult tactics because then they would be breaking the law and will be liable to having the state take custody of their children. They can't set up their own cult schools that refuse to teach critical thinking and the dangers of cults because they will lack state accreditation and the parents who send their children there will be breaking the law that says your child must be educated in a state accredited school.
Make it impossible or extremely difficult for cult members to avoid information on critical thinking and cult awareness. Make it an essential subject in schools like Math and English. This is the weak coward being actively engaged by the invincible warrior and having nowhere to run and hide. This is how governments can defeat the JWs and all cults.
Seems like the Russian govt. has bought into the JWs lie of "The Truth" and thus they're resorting to the tactic of censorship
Agreed. I am extremely anti-Watchtower, but I believe that the Russian ban will do much more harm than good. It is misguided and makes the Watchtower sympathetic--a small, sweet group who wouldn't hurt a fly (paraphrasing NY Times take on their pacifist/conscientious objector stance)--in the face of an unreasonable dictator that is friends with our unpopular president. From a civil liberties perspective, this is the underdog story they love to tell. The ban diverts attention from Watchtower's major crimes--major US news outlets are running the story while I probably wouldn't know about the ARC if it weren't for this site (and, to be fair, the Washington Post).
Not only that, it will strengthen JWs in their persecution complex. Borderline JWs will believe it's a sign of the promised persecution and slink back, instead of honestly evaluating the Watchtower's failed predictions and questionable teachings.
However, I don't believe governments have as much power as that, nor should they. Governments are just as capable of propaganda through education as the Nazi youth show us. But my big objection is that it won't be effective. Governments cannot ban thoughts; at best they can regulate actions. Governments can't ban shunning ordained as the will of God; never JWs also choose not to talk to people--whether it's because the person owes them $20 or for no reason at all. So they're not changing minds by banning the Watchtower.
I don't know the history of the Watchtower in Mexico, but just based on what I've read in other posts, there was a time when Mexico drove JWs underground and isn't it now one of the Watchtower's greatest achievements? This ban is only burying a problem that will rise again later on and perhaps in a much larger way.
Censorship is very much a two-edged sword.
All too often, it only piques peoples' curiosity about the matter being censored. As the OP has correctly observed, the best way to deal with an untruth is to completely bury it in facts.
Of course, if both parties in the dispute are equally guilty of being "economical in the use of the truth", then both will resort to such measures as censorship.