On Thursday, April 23, 2020 a Russian woman named Lyudmila Shchekoldina was speaking to someone about the Bible who was later identified as an undercover Russian agent. As a result, a criminal case was initiated against Lyudmila, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The following week on April 29, Russian authorities searched Lyudmila’s home for over eight hours while interrogating her. She was officially charged with promoting the activities of an extremist organization.
Since 2017, the Russian Federation under it’s Supreme Court has labeled activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist and terrorist, viewing Jehovah’s Witnesses a Western religion, President Vladimir Putin under direct coaching by Russian Orthodox Church leaders have targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses and their religious activity as a direct attack against US interest despite the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses remain politically neutral in the over 200 lands they carry out their proselytizing work.
“It is my opinion that Vladimir Putin has a more political aim in his attack on Jehovah's Witnesses while the Russian Orthodox Church leaders have a more ‘burn them alive at the stake’ agenda similar to the one the Catholic Church had in the 1400’s. So, unbeknownst to Russian President Putin, he is no more than a puppet being played by the Russian Orthodox Church, Court Magazine publisher Joseph Bonner states. He added, “It wouldn't surprise me if the church was also behind reports that prompted Russia to attack Ukraine.”
On February 23, 2022, the Russian Orthodox Church congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on Defender of the Fatherland Day and labeled the attack on Ukraine as ‘holy war” stating that Putin's military aggression “many important church-building, educational and social projects of the Moscow Patriarchate are being implemented, church-state interaction is fruitfully developing, aimed at preserving national historical memory and affirming the principles of traditional morality in the life of contemporaries.” From such statements, it’s clear the Russian Orthodox Church is seeking to grow its influence in the name of Religion regardless of the war crimes it leaders commit in the process.
However this religion at all cost mentality is not new. Still today around the world, most religious organizations are actively involved in politics and have contributed to global genocide, war and the sexual abuse of children.
Although Lyudmila’s criminal trial began June 21, 2021, the Pavlovskiy District Court of the Krasnodar Territory is expected to soon announce its verdict despite still not having requested a potential sentence.
The attack on Ukraine and on Jehovah's Witnesses residing in Russia both indicate that Vladimir Putin will continue to push the West and attack US interest.