The Satanic Church of Russia celebrated their one-year anniversary by cheering the Jehovah’s Witness ban.
Russia banned the cult in April, claiming their tactics were “extremist.” It’s just the latest crackdown on religious-affiliated groups in the former soviet country.
“We consider it necessary to speak out against missionary activity,” Satanic Church leader Oleg Sataninsky tells Russian news site 66.ru as reported by The Moscow Times. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses had an extreme approach. We oppose indoctrination and religious propaganda.”
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia failed to have strong religious freedom protection.
According to Newsweek, anti-extremism laws came into effect in 2002, following Russia’s second war in Chechnya and the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Then in 2016, the country imposed the Yarovaya Law, allegedly aimed to combat terrorism. Churches and missionaries feared these regulations would halt the spread of the gospel.
The Yarovoya Law banned proselytizing, preaching and praying outside of “specifically designated places,” like officially recognized religions.