FECRIS-connected anti-cult lawyer Alexander Korelov claims he has all the evidence: Russia will react and “destroy the United States, the spiritual garbage dump of humanity.”
How often will the Belgian Federal Parliament go on hosting conferences stigmatizing minority belief communities?
HRWF (18.10.2022) – On 19 May 2017, Alexander Korelov, the lawyer of several well-known radical Russian Orthodox propagandists hostile to Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious minorities in Russia, such as Alexander Dvorkin, was invited by FECRIS (European Federation of Research and Information Centres on Cults and Sects) at the Belgian Parliament to a controversial conference chaired by Belgian MP André Frédéric.
The Belgian politician is the president of AVISO, identified as an anti-cult association in Belgium affiliated to FECRIS. In 2021, he was appointed president of FECRIS after being a member of their board for several years, along with Alexander Dvorkin, former vice-president of FECRIS for several years and known as an extremist Orthodox propagandist and cult-hunter. This Belgian personality is very useful for FECRIS as he can give them access to the premises of the Belgian Federal Parliament for their conferences and hereby enjoy a certain aura and apparent but false legitimacy.
On 14 June 2022, André Frédéric hosted another FECRIS conference, as its president, in the premises of the Belgian Federal Parliament. And he published an article in a leading francophone newspaper Le Soir referring to their fight for assistance to victims of cults. Victims of any sort of perpetrators always deserve to be helped but in the case of FECRIS, the so-called assistance hides an ideological anti-cult agenda. In reality, FECRIS, its affiliates and other anti-cult groups repeatedly stigmatize and libel a number of belief or religious groups they do not like or they were formerly members of but they have lost quite a number of cases in various courts, an area that HRWF has specifically investigated.
So, how long will the Belgian Federal Parliament go on tolerating conferences stigmatizing minority belief communities?
Alexander Korelov claims to have evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses prepare a coup against President Putin, says Bitter Winter in a breaking news published on 17 October. Though, it is worth reminding that Jehovah’s Witnesses are apolitical, conscientious objectors to military service and opposed to violence.
Russia has now imprisoned 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses (95 men and 5 women) for the peaceful practice of their religion. This is the highest since the 2017 Russian Supreme Court ruling that effectively banned the Witnesses’ activities.
The 100th Witness to be imprisoned in Russia is Dmitriy Dolzhikov, 44. He was arrested in September after Russian officers raided 13 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Chelyabinsk. (see link to report) Dmitriy was subsequently transferred to a pretrial detention center in Novosibirsk Region, over 900 miles away from his home.
Sergey Klimov, 52, has been in prison the longest—since June 2018. (link) Another 249 of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been to prisons and pretrial detention centers, some of whom have spent more than five years behind bars. Russia has persisted in persecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has included beating and torturing believers, despite the European Court of Human Rights’ 2022 judgement by that declared Russia’s ban unjustified and illegal. (link)
Scope of the repression of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and Crimea:
- 303 criminal cases, involving 643 believers, across71 regions
- 100 in prison
- 18 under house arrest
- 1,789 homes of Witnesses raided since the 2017 Russian Supreme Court ruling that liquidated the Witnesses’ legal entities in Russia and Crimea
In Ukraine and in Ukrainian Crimea, until its annexation in 2014, no Jehovah’s Witness was ever imprisoned for the practice of his/her religion. On which side are the anti-cultists?
Sensational revelations: Jehovah’s Witnesses prepare an anti-Putin coup
by Massimo Introvigne (*)
Bitter Winter (17.10.2022) – https://bit.ly/3exE6ER – On October 13, during the conference “Religion, War and Peace” at the University of Bordeaux-Montaigne’s Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Rosita Šorytė discussed a “sensational revelation” about a coup against the Putin regime that is reportedly under preparation in Russia.
The revelation was launched in Russia on October 11 by the website of Archpriest Alexander Novopashin, the Vice President of the Russian national anti-cult umbrella organization Russian Association of Centers for Religious and Cultic Studies (РАЦИРС/RATsIRS), which is connected with the European anti-cult federation FECRIS. The graphic presentation of the article including the revelation is reminiscent of traditional Russian anti-Semitic iconography.
The statement is by a well-known Russian lawyer, Alexander Korelov, which regularly helps or represents leading anti-cultists such as Alexander Dvorkin or the same Novopashin when they are accused of defamation by groups they stigmatize as “cults.” Korelov introduces himself as “lawyer of RATsIRS.” In 2017, the Secretary General of the MIVILUDES, the French governmental anti-cult mission, Anne Josso, shared the stage in Brussels with both Dvorkin and Korelov at a conference organized at the Belgian Parliament by the FECRIS. To this very day, a text by Korelov appears on FECRIS’ official website.
Korelov claims that after it was “liquidated” and banned in Russia in 2017, “the extremist cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not cease to operate. As we expected, they went underground, holding their meetings in safe houses, receiving instructions from the American center through instant messengers, blogs, and so on. But lately the picture has changed. From the leading centers located in the United States, instructions are sent to the illegal divisions of the cult in our country through ‘closed’ channels, which indicate an attempt by the cult to organize a coup d’état in Russia similar to the Maidan in the now former Ukraine.”
Not without noting the use of the expression “former Ukraine,” we can focus our attention on Korelov’s thesis that “in Russia, the Western intelligence services intend to repeat the already developed scheme, implemented in Kyiv in 2014. Its essence is this. To begin with, ‘peaceful protesters’ are being taken out onto the streets, the backbone of which is primarily adherents of cults,” among which the lawyer mentions also Pentecostals and Scientologists. Then, “all kinds of dissatisfied elements, the mentally ill, drug addicts, criminals and just curious people are drawn to them. Everything seems to start peacefully, under pacifist slogans. Gradually, the crowd begins to ‘warm up’ with specially trained provocateurs, as well as on social networks.” And finally, the government is reversed: “According to the information at our disposal, this is precisely what is being intensively prepared in the milieu of cults. Now we have absolutely certain data that Jehovah’s Witnesses are turning from an extremist organization into a terrorist one. We warned about this already several years ago.”
Perhaps overlooking the fact that the Jehovah’s Witnesses moved their headquarters from Brooklyn to Warwick in 2016–2017, Korelov insists that “the leaders from the Brooklyn center are turning Russian adherents into cannon fodder to achieve their goals. Just like in Ukraine, the United States is fighting with the hands of Ukrainians and mercenaries, so in Russia they are ready to waste biomaterial they do not need in the form of adherents of this cult. The American leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is made of people unencumbered by moral standards. They are ready for anything. At the same time, ideological support is being launched among American-sponsored religious scholars, who have already started talking about the need for a ‘rehabilitation’ of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are accused of operating “‘sleeping’ extremist cells under the leadership of their center in the United States. And the fact that the Brooklyn [again] center of this cult is under the complete control of the American secret services is not longer a secret.” Pentecostals, Scientologists, and even “neo-Pagans” are also being prepared by the U.S. intelligence to support the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ coup, or so Korelov believes.
All these “cults” are described as “just puppet organizations in the hands of a behind-the-scenes puppeteer. This is an element of the socio-political structure of the United States, which they are trying to impose on the whole world. It is also obvious that all American cults are guided from a single center,” a claim also recently promoted by Novopashin.
“Cults” and the United States themselves are portrayed by the lawyer as “something vile, unworthy. Notice the stupidity of their leaders. The same Hubbard—the founder of Scientology—was a degenerate personality. What about the false prophecies of the Adventists? It clearly smacks of mental illness. Therefore, when mentioning American cults, you can twist your finger at your temple. The United States is the spiritual garbage dump of humanity. I have never taken their public-state matrix seriously. In their country there are no people capable of thinking globally, there is no knowledge of their own, everything is bought. Primitive, in a word. […] The United States has a very vulnerable socio-political system that can be destroyed in a few months. You just need to know their vulnerabilities and be able to influence them.” Russia had not destroyed the United States immediately, Korelov explains, “because too abrupt changes mean hundreds of millions of people who die from wars and upheavals in all countries. I doubt that anyone is ready to take responsibility for such sacrifices. Everything must be progressive and carefully thought out. This is the art of politics.”
However, the lawyer believes that the events in Ukraine and now the preparation of an anti-Putin coup through the Jehovah’s Witnesses represent the beginning of the end for the United States, as Russia could not fail to react. “Russia is not at war with Ukraine. Russia, in fact, is at war with the Satanists of the West FOR Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, to save people, to protect them from the arbitrariness of the United States and other pseudo-democratic states.” In Ukraine, he claims, “there are US bacteriological laboratories that spread the infections around the world, there are secret concentration camps where Ukrainians are tortured and killed, they organize the trade in Ukrainian children and much more. I have seen how the brainwashing technologies of the cults turn the people of the former Soviet republic into zombies. […] The once flourishing Soviet republic of Ukraine has been turned into a Nazi hell by the American occupiers. I can say with absolute certainty that the United States is carrying out genocide of the population of Ukraine. They methodically send Ukrainians to their death under the pretext of confrontation with Russia, they shoot and hang, or corrupt Ukrainian children in towns and villages. It is scary to watch when our troops enter the villages, and there are dozens of hanged children”—hanged by “the United States and NATO.”
One can regard these preposterous claims as the ravings of a lunatic. However, Korelov is really a well-known lawyer in Russia, and the web site that published his revelations is an official organ of both the Russian main anti-cult organization and the Russian Orthodox Church. He has even spoken at the Belgian Parliament, together with the crème of Western anti-cultists and the Secretary General of a French governmental agency. Accusing the peaceful and non-political Jehovah’s Witnesses of terrorism and of preparing a coup is obviously ridiculous. However, “revelations” of this kind serve as warrants for further persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses and devotees of other groups labeled as “cults.”
“I know that Russia, a country of believers and traditional values, has a much greater development potential than the entire ‘collective West’ put together,” Korelov concludes. Besides, “God is with us. We will win.”
(*) Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio. From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.
Photo: Rosita Šorytė discussing Korelov’s revelations at the Bordeaux conference (Bitter Winter)