Vitaly Vlasenko comments on the development
In a statement published by Moscow’s “Portal-Credo” news service on 24 March, Rev. Vitaly Vlasenko, the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists’ “Director for External Church Affairs” since 2006, brands the very recent de-legalisation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as an “unreasonable and dangerous step, for the Russian constitution guarantees every citizen the free profession of his/her faith. It does not state which faith is correct or incorrect. This kind of precedent is therefore highly frightening and raises the question of who’s next.”
He continued: The Ministry of Justice “is beginning to distinguish between proper and improper believers. What will prevent these same officials tomorrow from condemning, say, the Evangelical Christians-Baptists, (Orthodox) Old Believers or Catholics? I think this approach is fundamentally wrong.” Nearly all Protestant denominations have condemned the new legislation.
Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses number roughly 165.000; the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists boasts less than 80.000 members.
William Yoder, Ph.D.
Smolensk, 30 March 2017
A journalistic release for which the author is solely responsible. It is informational in character and does not express the official position of any church
organisation. This release may be reprinted free-of-charge if the source is cited. Release #17-01, 151 words.