This chapter summarizes the major conclusions of the book. It uses an anecdote from Soviet dissent Vladimir Bukovskii to describe how the changing ability of Witnesses to practice their faith acts as a barometer of the broader freedoms available to citizens. Jehovah’s Witnesses proved remarkably resilient to state and social opposition both in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Witnesses demonstrate how religion provides some citizens with an alternative belief system and a religiously motivated critique of secular power that compels them not to conform, to create communities and cultures outside of the official order, and to push the boundaries of state control.
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