Orthodox Christianity predominates the Russian religious sector. The 1997 Russian law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations only acknowledges the following religions: Christianity (duh), Islam, Buddhism and Judaism as traditional, acceptable religions allowed to be practiced in Russia. The not-so-accidental use of “traditional” as a qualifier is used primarily to justify the marginalization of nontraditional religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that effectively rejects the Holy Trinity. On February 6, a Russian court handed down the first actual sentence for the crime of “confessing his faith”. This sentence suggests the use of religion as a proxy for patriotism, and has become a political bargaining chip for control. This is not unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses, however. The threat of jail time can be applied to any minority group that oversteps their boundaries through garnering Western support, organizing missionary trips, etc., and Moscow is not being subtle about this promised threat. This is a direct contradiction to the words of Vladimir Putin, who in 2018, proclaimed that Jehovah’s Witnesses should be allowed to practice their faith freely. Which is it?
Like most European countries, Russia has experienced the replacement of pagan religion with Christianity. And as discussed above, Russia historically views “nontraditional” religions as unworthy of proper recognition. That is why I was shocked that there was a practicing witch coven in Russia, that seemed very much active. In the video the witches are casting spells to help Putin gain strength and fair better in the polls. I wonder how Putin, and other strict adherents to Eastern Orthodoxy feel about support from nontraditional religions.