FECRIS Vice President Justifies Russian Repression of Jehovah’s Witnesses

In a statement so duplicitous it makes a mockery of credibility, Alexander Dvorkin, vice-president of the European antisect organization FECRIS, funded by the French government, claims that recent actions against innocent members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia were carried out to protect the human rights of the religion’s adherents.

Alexander Dvorkin
Alexander Dvorkin

Reporting on this today, Human Rights Without Frontiers writes: “Alexander Dvorkin, president of the Association of Centres for the Study of Religions and Sects, told RIA Novosti that these claims are part of a ‘very aggressive attack against Russia the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite a while.’

“‘They’re trying to portray it as some kind of campaign against faith. But this is not a campaign against faith because the government cannot regulate people’s beliefs, and none of the Jehovah’s Witnesses adherents are prohibited from practicing their religion,” Dvorkin pointed out.’”

Dvorkin asserts that the government did nothing more than cut off a substantial flow of money to the organization. “If you so desire, feel free to hold gatherings at your apartments and discuss your religion—no one is going to prevent you from doing so.”

Dvorkin doesn’t even bother to hide his intentions in pushing for these measures, stating, “I’m certain that in a few years the number of the organization’s adherents will decrease dramatically—by half or to a third of its original size. Because when the financial basis is cut off, along with the ability to freely recruit other people and rent large halls, people tend to quickly lose interest and begin to scatter. In that regard, this decision was very astute.”

But of all his statements, considering Jehovah’s Witnesses are now serving prison sentences for doing nothing more that communicating about their religion, Dvorkin’s positioning of the rights of the members of this faith is the most specious: “Essentially, the struggle for human rights is being supplanted with the struggle for the rights of organizations which violate human rights. This is not human rights activity but rather its exact opposite.”

Alexander Dvorkin Citizens Commission on Human Rights FECRIS human rights Jehovah’s Witnesses Russia