The most absurd accusations about Russia flow from Western media these days. Surely CNN’s report that Russia utilized the Pokemon Go game to undermine the American spirit takes the cake. ‘Is there no end?’ RT.com has, in effect, asked. ‘Is there no accusation too preposterous?’ Unfairly, perhaps, but predictably, Russia’s bullying of all minority religion and the outright ban of one suggests that the answer is that there is not, and that all accusations must be carefully assessed.
All but the most repressive nations on earth have learned to accommodate the human urge to worship as each person sees fit. Russia sides with the forces of repression in this regard, and even surpasses them when, for example, it bans the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ website as extremist – the only country on earth to do so. Everyone else on the planet can visit and plainly see that it is not. How can Russia not lose face? A certain journalist laments the rise of Muslim terrorists run amok today. Of course! Everyone know what extremism is and they know that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not it.
Columnist Andrew Sorokowski posed the question: “Why would a nation of some 144,000,000 risk its international reputation to persecute a religious sect numbering no more than 175,000 followers?” Yet Russia has done so. Religious repression hardly accounts for media accusations, of course, which are driven primarily by American politics. But it suggests to the unpracticed eye that all such accusations just might be true and that there is no accusation too ridiculous to be dismissed out-of-hand. People hear of Dennis Christenson, jailed 5 months without trial for merely leading a Bible study – how can they not imagine Russia capable of unlimited nastiness? It is sad to see the self-inflicted decline of a great nation.