JW detained in Putin's Russia ... accused of extremism

by mikeflood 44 Replies latest social current

  • OrphanCrow
    Corney: since there is nothing criminal in conducting religious meetings, "group singing of biblical songs, improving skills of conducting missionary activity, and studying religious literature, the so-called "Holy scripture" (bible)...

    Actually, in Russia, it is criminal for people to conduct a meeting of a group that has been declared illegal and "extremist".

    Of course a person can argue that the JWs shouldn't have been banned, but that is a different discussion. This event in the OP happened because they are an illegal organization in Russia. That is the reality.

    Darth: Hi Orphan row. About the money... WTBT$ move money like pros - it's freely admitted in their own literature.

    Yes, I know. There are many documented accounts of how JWs move money illegally across the world.

    However, concerning the incidence under discussion, there is no need at all for the authorities to have to prove money laundering.

    It is simply a crime in itself to collect funds for the purpose of organizing meetings of an illegal organization inside of Russia. That's all. No charges of money laundering needed.

  • Diogenesister
    Sounds more like WW2 souvenirs

    That's exactly what I was thinking OC

    Possible a non jw relative had a collection of WW2 artifacts. Or even the dubs had found these on their land at some point...relics of old battles.

  • Vidiot


    Hard to argue with the label.

    Hand grenade?

    Hard to believe (unless it was planted).

    Heavy-handed and shady police tactics in an authoritarian regime?

    Just feeds the persecution complex, and I personally find it extremely distasteful.

  • Darth FayDehr
    Darth FayDehr

    This incident opens a wider topic that I believe could be a huge topic, if properly investigated.

    I recommended "a money laundering investigation", and provided an example in Watchtower's own literature of their policy of getting money out of a country: "In one suitcase, soldiers found a large sum of money. It had been withdrawn from the Society’s bank account two days earlier, as it was feared that perhaps the account would be frozen." (yb97 p. 121) An investigation WOULD reveal money being funnelled back to USA; where else would Watchtower want it to go but to themselves? Does $7,500 in case meet the requirements for money laundering? Yes it does. Here's a link to the current EU law on money laundering: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1434973778537&uri=CELEX:32015L0849 - for example point (6):

    The use of large cash payments is highly vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing. In order to increase vigilance and mitigate the risks posed by such cash payments, persons trading in goods should be covered by this Directive to the extent that they make or receive cash payments of EUR 10 000 or more. Member States should be able to adopt lower thresholds

    Any group - religious or not - collecting "contributions" for a cause, avoiding paying tax on the "income" and avoiding producing accounts, who are then covertly handing over those collected funds to a banned organization outside the national borders of the country SHOULD - I repeat SHOULD - be investigated for money laundering.

    I encourage the lawful and reasonable investigation into Watchtower's finances, which by their own declaration in court is over $1 billion, and by their own internal accounts video meeting is estimated at raking in over $2 billion annually - TAX FREE!

  • Corney

    There is no money laundering without a predicate offence resulting in income generation. In discussed case the committed "crime" is a crime of the same kind as "crimes" of "apostasy", "sodomy" or "anti-Soviet/anti-Government agitation". That's not legitimate criminal charges.

    And since the religious group was deprived its legal personality, it cannot be a taxpayer, and accounting isn't required. It can be considered like some persons collectively used their personal income - on which income tax was already paid - to fund their group activities. Therefore, there was no tax evasion.

    "An investigation WOULD reveal money being funnelled back to USA; where else would Watchtower want it to go but to themselves?" - According to the police press release, donations were collected "for paying the expenses of rental of premises for conducting meetings with members of the organization and purchasing and maintaining computer equipment" - and also for "transferring them to leaders of the religious organization 'Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia'" - a claim that's very vague and can be understood in multiple ways.

    Finally, I'm for full transparency of religious finances but that's irrelevant here.

  • Corney

    Diogenesister, just for clarification, Kirov region wasn't a WWII battlefield.

  • Wild_Thing


    First of all, I didn't say anything about any other groups being declared as "extremists". I said there are others that have been persecuted and banned. If you would like to know more, a simple google search will get you the information you desire. The fact that you want me to do the search for you, tells me that you aren't really interested in knowing the information for yourself. You are more interested in convincing me of some viewpoint that, for some reason, you are not wanting to state verbatim. if you have a point, make it.

    I do not agree with JWs being banned or classified as extremists in Russia. I think the offending behavior should be banned ... not the religion. But my point was that there are many, many religious groups that have been persecuted; some worse than the JWs. But yet they continue to use their own persecution to push their narrative that it means they are God's chosen people.

  • StephaneLaliberte
    Wild_thing: I think the offending behavior should be banned ... not the religion.

    Yeah, me too. I believe that anyone enforcing the shunning laws should identified as criminals. So, declare that particular teaching a criminal one, and let the religion alone.

  • Corney

    Latest info: according to a local social activist who attended court hearings, and to the org's press release, the found weapons (two F1 hand grenades and a mortar shell, as was claimed on state TV) were unsuitable WW2 artifacts. They were possessed by a non-JW pensioner, formerly a volunteer searching for the remains of fallen Soviet soldiers, who is husband of a 69 yrs old Witness.

    Surely, media (that didn't even try to request for more details from police or for a comment from the org) won't correct or retract their reckless and dishonest coverage of this nothingburger, and I wouldn't be surprised if few months later a Church-affiliated "expert" will lecture police officers about "a large arsenal that was seized from Jehovists in Kirov".

  • OrphanCrow
    Corney: Surely, media (that didn't even try to request for more details from police or for a comment from the org) won't correct or retract their reckless and dishonest coverage of this nothingburger...

    This was reported in the Russian media:


    At trial, there was information that two grenades and a mine, found during searches in the house of one of the arrested, belong not to him, but to his relative-search engine. The weapon is not valid. Upon his discovery, a criminal case on the illegal possession of weapons was opened, he was allocated in a separate proceeding.

    If media elsewhere isn't reporting this, it isn't because of the Russian media.

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