Russian Regional Press Lashes Out at Jehovah’s Witnesses
Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, DC - 1 hour ago
A flurry of articles attacking Jehovah’s Witnesses has been published in regional newspapers across Russia over the past week, raising the question of ... Russian Regional Press Lashes Out at Jehovah’s Witnesses
(August 9, 2005)
A flurry of articles attacking Jehovah’s Witnesses has been published in regional newspapers across Russia over the past week, raising the question of whether a coordinated campaign is being launched against Jehovah’s Witnesses in the wake of a Moscow court’s decision to ban them in that city, or if it is simply a coincidence. Press attacks against the Witnesses take place regularly, but the scope and nature of these latest accusations stand out.
The August 3, 2005 edition of the Arkhangelsk regional newspaper Pravda Severo-Zapada went so far as to compare the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Japanese death cult Aum Sinrikyo, whose followers released nerve gas in the Tokyo subway several years ago. Comparing both groups’ supposed “military discipline” and “theocratic hierarchy” the author of the article asks: “Can anything really stop such Jehovists from killing hundreds of people in the name of God or some crazy idea here in Arkhangelsk? Nothing will stop them, except we ourselves.”
The article concludes with an announcement that the paper, which has in the recent past accused Protestants of practicing ritual murder, is starting a series of articles on “Victims of Jehovists” and is therefore appealing for information about the Jehovah’s Witnesses’s activities in the region from its readers.
In an act of breathtaking journalistic irresponsibility, the August 2, 2005 Vladivostok edition of the national daily Komsomolskaya Pravda passed on to its readers a rumor that Jehovah’s Witnesses were behind the recent mass murder of six homeless people (including two children) in the regional city of Artyom. This theory was presented without any supporting evidence, and was accompanied by the pejorative term “sect” to describe the Witnesses, whose reputation for supposed evil deeds is apparently so well established in the region that the author of the piece felt no more evidence is needed to present this rumor as a plausible theory for an grisly unsolved murder.
On August 2, the main television station in Chelyabinsk, a region where local Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted throughout the 1990s by local officials, broadcast a report on a Jehovah’s Witnesses meeting in the nearby Kurgan region. The report wasted no time in claiming that: “Psychologists warn that Jehovists use methods of programming the conscience that are characteristic of totalitarian religious societies.” The report concluded with a reference to the Moscow case during which a reporter lamented the fact that other regions haven’t followed suit in banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On August 3, the newspaper Verny Put (published in Pravdinsk, Kaliningrad region) published an article entitled “Deceivers” which labeled the Jehovah’s Witnesses “One of the most widely distributed, numerous, and dangerous sects” in Russia. Terms like “false Witnesses” and “strong authoritarianism” are used throughout the article to create a terrifying image of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a ruthless, dangerous cult.
Finally, a July 27, 2005 report by the Regions.ru news web site announced that on August 1, a rally would be held in Krasnodar to counter any possibility of an “Orange Revolution” (a reference to the recent change of government in Ukraine) from happening in Russia. The Eurasian Union of Youth announced before the meeting that it would demand measures against Jehovah’s Witnesses and other “Orange” organizations that harm the interests of the state and the Russian Orthodox Church. It is not currently clear whether or not that meeting took place.
In a related story, an August 2 report by the ZAKS.RU web site stated that, reacting to complaints by citizens, the city parliament in Borovichi (Novgorod region) has held hearings into the activities of foreign missionaries in the city, including Pentecostals and Baptists. No detailed information about the hearings or the reported complaints was provided.
Danny's comment:what goes around comes around,the rhetoric here could be dubs talking about apostates.
(Luke 6:38 ) persecution or prosecution? "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,but not their own facts".D.M.