Russia’s government has won a Supreme Court bid to outlaw Jehovah’s Witnesses and have the movement declared an extremist organisation.
Government lawyers argued that the Christian-based faith group had distributed pamphlets which incited hatred against other groups during a six-day legal battle, the BBC reported.
It was also argued that the country’s 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses’ activities "violated Russia's law on combating extremism".
Their headquarters , near St Petersburg, has already been added to a list of extremist groups by the justice ministry.
The organisation will launch an appeal against Thursday's ruling.
Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia said: “We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity.
“We will appeal this decision.”