Prominent Russian Punk Rocker Defects To U.S. Over Jehovah’s Witnesses Ban

Prominent Russian punk rocker Fyodor Chistyakov says he has decided not to return from the United States, citing Russia’s new ban on the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

A member of the religous denomination since the mid-1990s, Chistyakov told Novaya Gazeta in a telephone interview from New York published on July 31 that he “has no other choice” than to stay in the United States.

“I cannot openly follow my religion [in Russia] now. And that is a trauma itself even when I am not in jail, although incarcerations are taking place already,” he was quoted as saying.