Russia's Supreme Court grossly erred back in 2017 when it sanctioned the Christian group - Jehovah's Witnesses, and deemed the sect as extremist.
As a result, the preachings and gatherings of Jehovah's Witnesses are criminal offenses in today's Vladimir Putin's Russia, with the state having the authority to detain christians and the ability to liquidate any property held by the group as an organization. According to a Newsweek article from 2017, there are about 117,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, which has a population of over 150 million people.
Since the branding of the group as extremist, a number of members have been detained and persecuted within Russia as others flee into Finland and other jurisdictions.
Media reports earlier today detailed the detainment and persecution of seven-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect in Surgut, north Russia. The group gave a compelling version of being electrocuted by police, who first denied the claims, but have now decided to investigate the reports amid international exposure of the human rights violations.
Of all the religious sects in the entire world, Putin's Russia, and any other government for that matter, have the least to worry over Jehovah's Witnesses. This group, of which my mother was a devoted member up until her death a few years-ago, is perhaps the least prone of all religious sects to conduct any physical action against any nation state or against any institutions of government. They do not mass protest in the streets. They do not bear arms, nor do they advocate the use of violence in any form or fashion.
The Christians simply want to congregate at their meeting halls, and to spread the word of the Bible via knocking on doors and eliciting conversations on theocracy. That is the view of Jehovah's Witnesses. In every hamlet of the world's four-hemispheres, populations have seen and witnessed the door-to-door ministry of Jehovah's Witnesses and not one soul could every attest to any violence or extremist actions from the group.
Therefore, Putin's Supreme Court grossly erred in considering Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist. And while the Russian president has called their persecution "utter nonsense", he should go father than asking his court to clarify how the 2017 law is applied and thus seek a reversal of the judgement condemning Jehovah's Witnesses as extremist.