Russia Religion News reports that, after months of preparatory work and a long history of repression, the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of Russia for the republic of Crimea and Sevastopol has immediately granted all 22 applications for registration submitted by local groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
From the point of view of international law, these territories are considered to be illegally annexed to the Russian Federation. Regardless, the press service of the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia reports, according to information on 15 May, a total of 408 local Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organizations have been registered in accordance with Russian legislation.
Registered Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations now are functioning in the Crimean cities of Armiansk, Dzhankoi (2), Kerch, Krasnoperekopsk, Saki, Sevastopol (2), Simferopol, Staryi Krym, Feodosiia, and Yalta, as well as in the villages of Brianskoe, Voskhod, Gvardeiskoe, Krasnogvardeiskoe, Mirnyi, Nizhnegorskii, Pervomaiskii, Razdolnoe, Chernomorskii, and Shchelkino.
In addition to registered organizations in Crimea, 84 unregistered groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses are functioning. In all, about 7,000 active adherents of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion reside on the peninsula.