Jehovah’s Witnesses are banned in Russia. That doesn’t stop them from worshipping.
They enter the building in twos and threes to avoid attracting attention. They mix up the homes they use, to keep it difficult for government forces or potential harassers to track. They set a table laden with food, which, during the Saturday worship session I attended in July, goes entirely untouched. It’s there so that if police arrive, they can claim that they’re simply gathering for a party. And, Yuri tells me, they always keep a few bottles of vodka on hand. If the police come, he says, they can down it quickly. The police will smell their breath, notice their inebriation, and believe that they’re been carousing, not worshipping.