Author ORCID Identifier

Emily B. Baran, 0000-0002-5854-0128.


Since 2017, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been barred from legal practice of their faith in Russia. This marks the first criminalization of a major religious faith in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For Witnesses, it has been a disturbing return to life under ban, a reality they experienced for decades under Soviet rule. Moreover, all indications suggest that this situation is unlikely to improve in the short term. Russian officials have shown consistent willingness to enforce a broad interpretation of the ban, including through the arrest and imprisonment of individual Witnesses. This article offers an overview of recent developments since 2017, with a particular focus on its impact on individual Witnesses.1 Such analysis is made possible by the wealth of documentation provided by the Jehovah’s Witnesses on their official websites, which carefully track events in Russia.



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