Since 2017, persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia has not subsided

In recent years, hundreds of people have found themselves behind bars or awaiting trial simply because of their faith. The situation is steadily getting worse.
394
Criminal cases
434
Have been imprisoned
171
Sent to penal colonies
555
On the list of extremists
On July 17, 2017, the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation came into force, later recognized by the ECHR as illegal. The liquidation of legal entities on false charges of extremism led to the fact that thousands of ordinary believers - peaceful, law-abiding citizens - went through searches, arrests and trials, hundreds ended up behind bars.
Chernobaev
Viktor
Chernobaeva
Alena
Mikholap
Andrey
Mikholap
Oksana
Anufriyeva
Anastasiya
Anufriyev
Vladimir
Shcherbich
Aleksey
Fedorov
Sergey
Gaytur
Anastasiya
Kamshilova
Irina
Bagiyan
Sergey
Sakun
Oleg
Muravyov
Igor
Smirnova
Nina
Serdtseva
Larisa
Baylo
Valeriy
Manuylov
Vitaliy
Timofeyev
Aleksey
Тохтаев
Далер
Fomin
Vladimir
Artemov
Oleg
Kuznetsov
Aleksey
Pyzhov
Leonid
Kukavitsa
Vladlena
Rygaev
Sergey
Gaytur
Aleksandr
Ogoreva
Svetlana
Chemrov
Pavel
Khalgaeva
Tsagan
Менькова
Екатерина
Chekolaev
Kirill
Bashabaev
Anton
Lebedev
Dmitriy
Lukin
Sergey
Vasiliyev
Aleksey
Yefremov
Aleksey
Kalinnikova
Olga
Potapova
Larisa
Demidova
Yekaterina
Lyakh
Mark
Moiseyenko
Vladimir
Yefanov
Ivan
Ignatov
Dmitriy
Davydenko
Aleksandr
Komissarova
Galina
Mamedov
Salekh
Popova
Rimma
Shurygin
Andrey
Alekseyeva
Valentina
Dvurechenskiy
Sergey
Gadrshina
Yelena
Gumenyuk
Roman
Katamov
Oleg
Kopylets
Aleksandr
Popov
Aleksandr
Rumyantseva
Yelena
Sveshnikov
Mikhail
Zakharevich
Dmitriy
Chausov
Dmitriy
Chausova
Oksana
Khorikov
Roman
Khorikov
Yuriy
Kozhevnikova
Yelena
Kupriyanskiy
Nikolay
Severinchik
Kirill
Shchetinin
Aleksandr
Yurenkova
Yelena
Barbazyuk
Maksim
Bondarev
Vasiliy
Bondareva
Irina
Globa
Yuliya
Klokov
Valeriy
Kostyuk
Aleksandr
Sachnev
Sergey
Sachneva
Ulita
Tolmazov
Valeriy
Ursu
Viktor
Zharkova
Svetlana
Dorofeev
Mikhail
Kovadnev
Nikolay
Nikitin
Ivan
Shitov
Radion
Voytko
Marina
Sobyanin
Aleksandr
Spirichev
Viktor
Khamatshin
Maksim
Virich
Anton
Зинина
Людмила
Zinina
Irina
Chernykh
Yelena
Buryi
Ilia
Пенская
Василина
Yuskov
Yuriy
Kasabov
Igor
Loshkarev
Aleksandr
Manya
Viktor
Naymushin
Sergey
Odintsov
Anatoliy
Romanov
Sergey
Volkov
Aleksey
Yumashev
Yuriy
Zinchenko
Maksim
Dolganov
Aleksandr
Kapitonov
Eduard
Olopova
Sona
Petrov
Denis
Kapitonov
Ilya
Kulikov
Sergey
Alekseyev
Igor
Dyldina
Anastasiya
Guseva
Izolda
Romanova
Yelena
Roslova
Marina
Salnikov
Aleksandr
Sazhin
Aleksandr
Tkachenko
Alina
Bannykh
Andrey
Kozhushko
Andrey
Loshchinin
Pavel
Shiyan
Andrey
Gerashchenko
Yuriy
Kazakova
Tatyana
Sabodash
Miroslav
Shevlyuga
Igor
Stepanova
Tatyana
Vaganov
Aleksandr
Vovk
Konstantsiya
Brilkov
Pavel
Byche
Yuriy
Novoselov
Sergey
Pogrebnyak
Yegor
Tutinova
Kishta
Khabrik
Kirill
Matveeva
Anna
Morozov
Andrey
Poveshchenko
Yevgeniy
Ryabokon
Sergey
Zhmyrev
Igor
Avanesov
Arsen
Bagratyan
Alevtina
Abdulgalimov
Marat
Abdullaev
Arsen
Abrosimova
Galina
Adamov
Stepan
Adestov
Roman
Afanasiyev
Sergey
Filatov
Aleksadr
Agadzhanov
Sergey
Akhrameeva
Evgeniya
Kim
Artem
Akopyan
Arkadya
Akopov
Aleksandr
Korolev
Aleksandr
Aksenov
Yevgeniy
Aliyev
Alam
Aliyev
Nikolay
Alushkin
Vladimir
Alushkina
Tatyana
Alyev
Ruslan
Amosov
Maksim
Ananin
Sergey
Andreyev
Andrey
Andreyev
Boris
Anoykina
Nadezhda
Antonov
Denis
Antyukhin
Aleksey
Anufriyev
Nikolay
Arkhipov
Aleksey
Artamonova
Larisa
Asatryan
Lyubov
Ashikhmin
Sergey
Astvatsaturova
Nina
Suvorkov
Andrey
Trofimov
Aleksey
Atrуakhin
Vladimir
Avanesov
Vilen
Bachurin
Viktor
Baev
Sergey
Bagratyan
Artem
Balabkin
Vladimir
Baranov
Yuriy
Baranovskaya
Valentina
Baranovskiy
Roman
Baranov
Yegor
Barmakin
Dmitriy
Barmakina
Yelena
Batchaev
Albert
Baybak
Semyon
Baykalov
Aleksey
Baykalov
Vladimir
Bazhenov
Konstantin
Bektemirova
Gaukhar
Belosludtsev
Yuriy
Belousov
Sergey
Beltikov
Maksim
Belyaev
Eduard
Berchuk
Aleksey
Bitusov
Yevgeniy
Bochkarev
Andrey
Bochkareva
Leysan
Bochko
Yevgeniy
Bogatov
Aleksey
Bondarchuk
Aleksandr
Bondarenko
Tatyana
Boronos
Vyacheslav
Boyko
Anatoliy
Bozykov
Petr
Britvin
Sergey
Budenchuk
Aleksey
Buglak
Irina
Bukin
Vladimir
Burenesku
Vasily
Burkov
Mikhail
Burylov
Boris
Bushev
Yevgeniy
Chagan
Aleksandr
Сhaplykina
Marina
Chaykovskiy
Ivan
Chechulin
Sergey
Chechulina
Yelena
Chermnykh
Anton
Chernov
Viktor
Chernykh
Yuriy
Chernyshev
Yuriy
Chesnokov
Vladimir
Christensen
Dennis
Danielyan
Andrey
Danielyan
Aram
Danilov
Oleg
Dulova
Darya
Dechko
Yevgeniy
Degtyarenko
Ilya
Dementev
Yuriy
Derendyaev
Maksim
Dergacheva
Galina
Dergalev
Anton
Deshko
Vladimir
Diarov
Rustam
Дихтяр
Николай
Kulakov
Dmitriy
Dolinina
Liliya
Dolzhikov
Dmitriy
Dominova
Aksana
Druzhinin
Leonid
Dubovenko
Aleksandr
Dubovkina
Svetlana
Dulova
Venera
Dutkin
Vladimir
Dyadkin
Aleksey
Dyusekeyeva
Dinara
Golik
Yevgeniy
Egozaryan
Igor
Mikhaylova
Yelena
Eremeev
Maksim
Yerkin
Sergey
Ermolaev
Vladimir
Saveliyeva
Yelena
Suvorkov
Yevgeniy
Fedin
Evgeny
Fedorov
Vadim
Fefilov
Victor
Feruleva
Tatyana
Filatov
Sergey
Filatov
Denis
Filippov
Vladimir
Filiznov
Petr
Fokin
Stanislav
Fokina
Marina
Fomashin
Yevgeniy
Galaktionova
Lyubov
Galitsina
Lubov
Galka
Yuriy
Galkevich
Tatyana
Galyamin
Sergey
Ganin
Aleksandr
Ganusha
Olga
Gargalyk
Saveliy
Gerasimov
Artem
Gerasimov
Aleksey
Geraskov
Yuriy
Gevorkyan
Gevorg
Gezik
Anatoliy
Gezik
Irina
German
Gennadiy
Gild
Pavel
Gizatulin
Vadim
Glazov
Andrey
Nikulin
Georgiy
Gobozev
Sergey
Godizov
Georgiy
Godunov
Yevgeniy
Golik
Dmitriy
Golik
Kristina
Golovacheva
Olga
Gorbunov
Anatoliy
Gordeev
Mikhail
Goreliy
Aleksey
Gorelov
Dmitriy
Gridasov
Roman
Grinenko
Evgeny
Gromov
Sergey
Gruzdeva
Kristina
Gubin
Andrey
Gurskiy
Valeriy
Gusev
Igor
Gushchin
Kirill
Gushchina
Svetlana
Guzev
Konstantin
Guzeva
Anastasiya
Ilinykh
Vitaliy
Ilyasova
Yunona
Inozemtsev
Aleksandr
Petrov
Igor
Popov
Igor
Isakov
Anatoliy
Tsarev
Igor
Yulmetyev
Aydar
Ivanova
Olga
Ivanov
Yevgeniy
Ivashin
Igor
Ivshin
Aleksandr
Zhukov
Igor
Kabanov
Aleksandr
Kaganovich
Yuliya
Kalin
Yaroslav
Kalistratov
Aleksandr
Kardakov
Sergey
Kardakova
Inna
Karimov
Ilkham
Karpova
Mariya
Karpushkina
Maya
Kartayganov
Alibek
Katanaeva
Lyudviga
Kayryak
Evgeny
Kazadaev
Pavel
Kazakov
Sergey
Kazakov
Aleksandr
Bazhenov
Konstantin
Ketov
Aleksandr
Khabarov
Aleksey
Khachaturyan
Garegin
Khachikyan
Khoren
Khalturin
Maksim
Kharlamov
Andrey
Khmil
Valeriy
Khokhlov
Vladimir
Khvostov
Anatoliy
Khvostova
Irina
Kim
Stanislav
Kim
Yuriy
Kiramov
Rinat
Kirilyuk
Sergey
Kletkin
Igor
Klikunov
Sergey
Klimov
Sergey
Klyuchnikov
Stanislav
Kobelev
Sergey
Kobeleva
Galina
Kobotov
Igor
Kocherova
Lyubov
Kochnev
Vladimir
Kochneva
Natalya
Kogay
Nailya
Kogut
Khasan
Kokovin
Anton
Kolbanov
Vladislav
Kolesnichenko
Andrey
Kolesnikov
Vladimir
Kolotinskiy
Yuriy
Komarov
Vitaliy
Komissarov
Sergey
Konkova
Nadezhda
Kononenko
Nikolay
Konshin
Oleg
Kopytov
Mikhail
Korobeynikov
Vladimir
Korobochko
Nadezhda
Korol
Aleksandr
Korolchuk
Sergey
Korolev
Ruslan
Korolev
Sergey
Korotun
Yevgeniy
Kostenko
Aleksandr
Kosteyev
Sergey
Kostrov
Aleksandr
Kosyanenko
Sergey
Kozak
Yevgeniy
Kozlitin
Aleksandr
Krasnolutskiy
Vladimir
Kretov
Sergey
Kriger
Valeriy
Kriger
Nataliya
Kruglyakov
Aleksandr
Krupnov
Petr
Krupnova
Maya
Krutyakov
Yuriy
Krutyakova
Zinaida
Kuchkov
Viktor
Kudinov
Viktor
Kugukova
Valentina
Kulakov
Sergey
Kulakova
Tatyana
Kulyasov
Vladimir
Kulikov
Aleksey
Kupriyanov
Aleksey
Kutin
Aleksandr
Kutsenko
Vadim
Kuzhelkov
Anton
Kuzichkin
Nikolay
Kuzin
Dmitriy
Kuznetsov
Sergey
Kuznetsova
Mariya
Kuznetsov
Aleksandr
Kuznetsov
Sergey
Kuzo
Darya
Kuzyanin
Denis
Kuzo
Taras
Labadze
Gurami
Ledenyov
Sergey
Ledyaykin
Andrey
Lekontsev
Pavel
Lelikov
Aleksey
Lemeshev
Anton
Leshchеnko
Nikolay
Levchuk
Vadim
Li
Yen Sen
Li
Anatoliy
Litvinyuk
Aleksandr
Logins
Sergey
Loginskiy
Yuriy
Logunov
Sergey
Lokhvitskaya
Anna
Lokhvitskaya
Irina
Lokhvitskiy
Artur
Lonchakov
Igor
Lonshakov
Oleg
Loskutov
Aleksey
Lubin
Aleksandr
Lyakhov
Andrey
Lyamo
Anatoliy
Lyulin
Sergey
Magliv
Andrey
Makhalichev
Nikolay
Makhammadiyev
Feliks
Makhnev
Roman
Maksimovich
Andrey
Maladyka
Vladimir
Maletskov
Valeriy
Malevaniy
Dmitriy
Malkov
Viktor
Maltseva
Liya
Malyanov
Sergey
Malyanova
Svetlana
Mamalimov
Pavel
Mamalimov
Igor
Mamedov
Eldar
Mamykina
Kaleriya
Manukyan
Tadevos
Manushakyan
Vladimir
Manzyrykchi
Vitaliy
Mareyev
Roman
Markin
Roman
Markov
Vladislav
Martynov
Nikolay
Martynova
Nina
Martynov
Andrey
Marunov
Anatoliy
Maslov
Dmitriy
Matrashov
Konstantin
Matveev
Aleksey
Mavrin
Vladimir
Meleshko
Vasiliy
Melnik
Sergey
Melnikov
Sergey
Melnik
Vladimir
Menchikova
Yelena
Merinkov
Eduard
Merinov
Nikolay
Merkulov
Denis
Metsger
Aleksey
Myakushin
Vladimir
Mikhaylov
Dmitriy
Mikhaylenko
Irina
Minenko
Zinaida
Minsafin
Valeriy
Miretskiy
Aleksey
Mirgorodskaya
Olga
Mironchik
Igor
Miroshnichenko
Aleksandr
Moiseyenko
Konstantin
Moiseyenko
Margarita
Moiseyev
Nikita
Monis
Svetlana
Morlang
Tatyana
Morozov
Maksim
Moskalenko
Valeriy
Moskalev
Yuriy
Moysh
Mikhail
Murych
Andrey
Mysin
Sergey
Mysina
Nataliya
Naumenko
Sergey
Nekrasova
Lidiya
Nerush
Vitaliy
Nesterova
Elena
Netreba
Artur
Neverov
Ivan
Nikiforov
Vitaliy
Nikolayev
Aleksandr
Nikulina
Elena
Obizhestvit
Tatyana
Oganyan
Sergey
Okhapkin
Andrey
Okhrimchuk
Andrey
Olenin
Ilya
Oleynik
Tatyana
Olkhova
Galiya
Olshevskaya
Yekaterina
Olshevskiy
Anton
Omelchenko
Vitaliy
Oniszczuk
Andrzej
Opaleva
Olga
Oreshkov
Aleksey
Ortanova
Zareta
Osadchuk
Valentin
Osintsev
Vladimir
Ostapenko
Anton
Ostapenko
Roman
Ovchinnikov
Mikhail
Ovchinnikova
Lyubov
Ovechkin
Oleg
Panyuta
Olga
Pankratov
Stepan
Parfentyev
Georgiy
Parfentyeva
Tatyana
Parfyonovich
Sergey
Parkov
Aleksandr
Parkova
Galina
Pasynkov
Aleksey
Pavlova
Zoya
Pechko
Galina
Pegasheva
Yekaterina
Perefileva
Irina
Perekatiy
Natalya
Peresunko
Denis
Perminov
Andrey
Petrenko
Valeriy
Petrenko
Sergey
Petrov
Konstantin
Pike
Sean Antonio
Piskarev
Vladimir
Piskareva
Tatyana
Plekhov
Aleksey
Plotnikov
Yevgeniy
Podolin
Aleksandr
Polevodov
Nikolay
Polyakov
Sergey
Polyakova
Anastasiya
Polosenko
Sergey
Polozov
Aleksandr
Poltoradnev
Vladimir
Polyakevich
Gennadiy
Ponomarenko
Lyudmila
Ponomarenko
Yuriy
Ponomareva
Olga
Popkova
Yuliya
Popov
Mikhail
Popova
Yelena
Popov
Igor
Popov
Pavel
Popov
Vladimir
Popras
Aleksandr
Myasnikova
Mariya
Postnikov
Oleg
Postnikova
Agnessa
Potapov
Mikhail
Potylitsyn
Sergey
Prianikov
Aleksandr
Prilepskiy
Aleksandr
Prokhorov
Nikolay
Pryanikova
Anastasiya
Puyda
Ivan
Purge
Nina
Putintsev
Aleksandr
Putintsev
Artur
Putivskaya
Anzhela
Rabota
Valeriy
Rakovskiy
Aleksandr
Ravnushkin
Dmitriy
Razumov
Yevgeniy
Redozubov
Yuriy
Reshetnikov
Yevgeniy
Reshetnikov
Mikhail
Revyakin
Viktor
Reyno-Chernyshova
Yelena
Reznichenko
Vasiliy
Rogozin
Valeriy
Romashov
Paul
Rumyantsev
Aleksandr
Ryshkov
Andrey
Rysikov
Leonid
Ryzhkova
Svetlana
Saakyan
Karina
Safronova
Anna
Sagin
Viktor
Sakada
Vladimir
Salikova
Lyudmila
Salmanov
Nikolay
Samoylova
Yevgenya
Samsonov
Konstantin
Samus
Valentina
Sannikov
Konstantin
Saparov
Nikolay
Sarazhakov
Denis
Sarychev
Anatoliy
Savelyev
Yuriy
Sazonov
Andrey
Bazhenova
Snezhana
Schitz
Valeriy
Sedova
Svetlana
Seidkuliev
Rustam
Semenov
Dmitriy
Semenova
Nadezhda
Semenyuk
Sergey
Senin
Anatoliy
Serebryakov
Aleksandr
Serebryakova
Lubov
Seredkin
Aleksandr
Sergeyev
Sergey
Sergeyev
Oleg
Severinchik
Arthur
Shabliy
Artem
Shalev
Valeriy
Shalyapin
Anatoliy
Shamov
Aleksandr
Shamsheva
Tatyana
Sharapova
Nataliya
Shatalov
Sergey
Shayapov
Viktor
Shchannikov
Viktor
Shchekoldina
Lyudmila
Shchepin
Andrey
Shcherbina
Aleksandr
Shepel
Viola
Shevchuk
Aleksandr
Shevchuk
Mikhail
Shevelev
Stepan
Shidlovskiy
Oleg
Shishina
Svetlana
Shmidt
Igor
Sholner
Tatyana
Shpakovskiy
Gennadiy
Shubnikov
Aleksey
Shulgina
Olga
Shulyarenko
Sergey
Shulyuk
Ivan
Shut
Lyudmila
Shutov
Aleksandr
Sidorenko
Pavel
Sidorova
Irina
Silayeva
Olga
Simonenko
Boris
Sirotkin
Oleg
Siyukhov
Inver
Skachidub
Vladimir
Skrynnikov
Sergey
Skudaev
Sergey
Skutelets
Gennadiy
Skvortsov
Aleksandr
Slashchev
Valeriy
Smelov
Aleksey
Smirnov
Eduard
Sokolov
Yevgeniy
Solnechny
Aleksey
Solntsev
Mikhail
Solntseva
Oksana
Solomentsev
Gennadiy
Solovyev
Aleksandr
Solovyev
Sergey
Sorokin
Ivan
Sorokina
Nataliya
Spiriadi
Matrena
Spirin
Yevgeniy
Spivak
Vladimir
Rayman
Sergey
Starikov
Aleksandr
Stashevskiy
Viktor
Stefanidin
Yevgeniy
Stepanov
Nikolay
Stupnikov
Andrey
Sukhov
Vitaliy
Sultanov
Shamil
Sushilnikov
Sergey
Sushilnikova
Tatyana
Suvorov
Aleksandr
Suvorova
Valentina
Suvorov
Danil
Suvorov
Denis
Suvorov
Vladimir
Svarichevskiy
Adam
Svetonosov
Sergey
Sviridov
Eduard
Svoboda
Tatyana
Sycheva
Anastasiya
Syrykh
Vitaliy
Tabakov
Andrey
Temirbulatov
Yuriy
Terebilov
Dmitriy
Teterin
Vladimir
Timoshin
Denis
Timoshkin
Vladimir
Tishchenko
Dmitriy
Tokarev
Anatoliy
Tolmachev
Andrey
Tolokonnikov
Sergey
Tolstonozhenko
Sergey
Treguba
Yekaterina
Trifonov
Igor
Trofimov
Viktor
Troshina
Mariya
Tsarev
Denis
Tsikunov
Aleksandr
Tsorn
Yelena
Turik
Igor
Tyurin
Sergey
Zhuk
Tatyana
Udintsev
Yevgeniy
Ukhov
Aleksey
Urazbakhtin
Ildar
Usanov
Yuriy
Usanova
Raisa
Usenko
Vladimir
Ushakhin
Sergey
Ushakov
Vitaliy
Vaag
Yuriy
Vashchenko
Rimma
Vasichkin
Aleksandr
Vasiliyev
Nikolay
Vasiliyev
Vladimir
Vasiliyev
Sergey
Vavilov
Aleksandr
Vechkayev
Valeriy
Velichko
Artem
Velizhanina
Tatyana
Vergunov
Aleksandr
Verhoturov
Sergey
Verhoturova
Viktoriya
Verigin
Roman
Verigina
Violetta
Veselov
Mikhail
Vigul
Maksim
Vilitkevich
Anatoliy
Vinogradov
Dmitriy
Vladimirova
Valentina
Vlasov
Andrey
Voykov
Sergey
Voishchev
Nikolay
Volosnikov
Sergey
Voronchikhin
Aleksandr
Vorontsov
Aleksandr
Voropaeva
Natalya
Vospitanyuk
Aleksandr
Votyakov
Aleksandr
Popov
Vitaliy
Rayman
Valeriya
Tibiy
Valeriy
Popov
Vyacheslav
Vyaznikov
Valeriy
Vyrezkova
Svetlana
Vyushin
Andrey
Yagovitov
Boris
Yagupov
Anatoliy
Yakku
Yevgeniy
Yakovlev
Valeriy
Yakovlev
Yuriy
Yarchak
Dmitriy
Yatsik
Galina
Yatsyk
Yelena
Yavushkin
Sergey
Yefremova
Svetlana
Yegorov
Yevgeniy
Yelin
Yevgeniy
Yeliseyev
Aleksey
Yeritsyan
Gevorg
Yermak
Anna
Yermakov
Mikhail
Yermilov
Sergey
Yermilova
Valentina
Yershov
Aleksey
Yershov
Ilya
Yevstigneev
Kirill
Yuferov
Sergey
Zagulin
Dmitriy
Zagulina
Tatyana
Zakaryan
Vardan
Zakharova
Aleksandra
Zalipayev
Yuriy
Zalyaeva
Svetlana
Zavrazhnov
Maksim
Zayshchuk
Yelena
Zelenskiy
Mikhail
Zhelavskaya
Olga
Zherebtsov
Konstantin
Zhigalov
Sergey
Zhiltsov
Petr
Zhinzhikov
Eduard
Zhivolupov
Roman
Zhugin
Nikolay
Zhuk
Vitaliy
Zhukov
Timofey
Zhukov
Andrey
Zhukov
Yevgeniy
Zhurbenko
Anton
Zyablov
Yevgeniy
Zimovskiy
Viktor
Zinich
Yevgeniy
Zolotova
Vera
Zotov
Konstantin
Stories of prisoners of conscience
Ordinary believers talk about what happened to them:
4:08
Arrested, Convicted, Served Time, Deported. What Is Occurring With Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia Based on Konstantin Bazhenov's Experience
In 2021, one of the first Jehovah's Witnesses that was sent behind bars after the Russian Supreme Court decided to ban the organization was released from prison and deported from Russia. His story is told in this four-minute video. As soon as Konstantin Bazhenov left the colony, he was detained and deported to Ukraine because his Russian citizenship was revoked due to criminal prosecution. It all began on June 12, 2018, when searches took place in Konstantin Bazhenov's apartment, as well as in 6 other dwellings of believers.
4:00
The Brutal Attack by the Law Enforcers Did Not Break the Believers in Irkutsk
In the early morning hours of October 4, 2021, dozens of law enforcement officers raided the homes of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. Some of the raids were accompanied by beatings and abuse. Tatiana Kalina: "At 6:15 a.m., they broke our window and kicked it in. My husband thought that we were being visited by thieves. He went to the window, but was immediately thrown against the glass, on the floor.
3:52
"After a Heart Attack, I Was Put Into a Cage in Handcuffs." The Story of the Persecution for Faith of Olga Opaleva and Her Son in Primorye
Olga Opaleva, a 69-year-old pensioner from Primorye, has been prosecuted for her faith in Jehovah for the third year. The security forces searched and detained the believer, knowing that she had a heart attack the night before. A few months later, on the way to the hearing, Olga suffered a stroke. In another city, Olga's son, Vitaliy Ilinykh, is on trial for his convictions. The criminal case against Olga was initiated on November 12, 2018.
11:20
The Christensen case. A faith that is higher than prison walls
Six years in prison is the verdict of the Oryol District Court in the case of a Dane who professes the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The verdict caused a wide public outcry. The history of criminal prosecution for faith is in an 11-minute video report.
4:18
Why are peace-loving individuals being framed as criminals? An engineer is being tried for his faith in the city of Krasnoyarsk
A criminal case against Andrey Stupnikov, a peaceful believer accused of extremism, has commenced in the city of Krasnoyarsk district court. Who is he and why is he being tried is described in a four-minute video.
3:18
Kolyma 2.0. The Land of Trampled Freedom Once Again Becomes a Hotbed of Repression
The memorial “Mask of Sorrow” erected in this region notorious for the Gulag labor camps recalls the millions of victims of political repression during the years of the USSR. However, dramatic events unfold here again, breaking the lives of innocent people. Three-minute video.
4:14
What Happened in Abakan? Details Around the Sentence that Sent a 70-Year-Old Woman and Her Son to Prison for Believing in Jehovah
On February 24, 2021, the Abakan City Court convicted 70-year-old Valentina Baranovskaya and her son, Roman. Both are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Following the verdict, they were immediately taken into custody from the courtroom. Sadly, three months later the appeal court upheld the unjust verdict. They were cruelly and inhumanely sentenced to two and six years in prison, respectively. Yegiazar Chernikov, attorney: “There is no way that it can be said that they committed any crime.
Why are Russian Jehovah's Witnesses persecuted?
There are no real victims or damage caused in any criminal case. All believers who receive prison sentences are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. Criminal cases are replete with vague formulations such as “an attack on the foundations of the constitutional order.” The believers themselves admit that they do not understand why they are being judged.
How were believers in Russia turned into "extremists"?
7:48
Russia's Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights:
June 20, 2018
In all cases, the accusations brought against believers are based on the assertion that a group of believers held a worship service. The accusations of citizens that they read the Bible together and pray to God are interpreted as “continuation of the activities of an extremist organization.” The Council considers that such an interpretation is not consistent with the legal position of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. There is a contradiction between the declared position of the Government of the Russian Federation and law enforcement practice. This cannot but cause concern, since criminal prosecutions and arrests have become systemic. The situation is associated with the Soviet period, when “Jehovah’s Witnesses” were subjected to unreasonable repression on the basis of religion, as a result of which the Law of the Russian Federation of October 18, 1991, No. 1761-1, “On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression,” was extended to them.”
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Media About Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses
Russian and international press closely follow the situation around Jehovah’s Witnesses since 2017. Here are some highlights of the media coverage:
“We are People Like You, But Now We are Called Criminals and Extremists”
The story of a prosecution office employee who became a Jehovah's Witness
In the Russian regions, the number of criminal cases against followers of Jehovah's Witnesses  is growing (banned in Russia. - "Kommersant"). They are suspected of creating an extremist organization. But against this background, the situation in Surgut stands out - there were searches of dozens of believers, many of whom complained that they were tortured with electric shocks during interrogations. One of the extremist suspects was lawyer Timofey Zhukov, a former assistant prosecutor in Surgut who gave up his career in law enforcement to become one of Jehovah's Witnesses. In an interview with Kommersant's special correspondent Aleksandr Chernykh, Mr. Zhukov told how his former colleagues relate to Jehovah's Witnesses, analyzed in detail the legal errors of the accusation of extremism, and at the same time answered questions about his faith. He also confessed: “Until the last moment, I could not believe that law enforcement officers could torture believers.” Go to the article
Punishment not Only for Faith
Historian Pavel Polyan on how Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted in the Soviet Union
The ban on the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses by the Supreme Court as an extremist organization is quite similar in content to how this and other religious communities were persecuted in the USSR. They were repressed for anti-Soviet activities. In the late 1940s - early 1950s the policy of the Soviet authorities in relation to the religious "underground" made a remarkable internal turn: the thesis was re-formulated about the expediency of deporting representatives of certain "incorrigible" religious groups (the last such operation - the deportation of "True Orthodox Christians" - took place in 1944). The office of the Commissioner for Religions and Cults under the Council of Ministers of the USSR (UDRK) had its own republican and regional offices, which oversaw all confessions throughout the country, except for the Orthodox, which was supervised by a separate and special office. The UDRK had a lot of work in the western, annexed areas. It was from there that “sectarian elements” were mainly expelled, in whose doctrine and propaganda the authorities saw anti-Sovietism. Go to the article
Element of Faith
Human rights activist Lev Ponomarev on how law enforcement agencies “find” extremism in simply reading the Bible
I have always felt outside of religion. And although I did not share and do not share any religious beliefs, I was strongly impressed by people who are sincerely devoted to their faith. Perhaps they are carriers of some truth that is inaccessible to me. I understood that they should be treated with care. And, in any case, one should not allow a rude intrusion into their world. In the early 1990s, it seemed to us, deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, extremely important to adopt a law on freedom of religion. And it was one of the first to be accepted. Where there is respect for a person, there is also respect for his faith. But Russia, as you know, has a special path and, as it turned out recently, is a separate civilization. In our country, believers can be equated with extremists. Go to the article
Why Jehovah's Witnesses Get Tougher Sentences
Human rights activists question the validity of court cases against followers of the faith
Another wave of law enforcement fighting against Jehovah's Witnesses, banned in Russia and recognized as an extremist organization, has swept through different regions. On February 10, the Abinsk District Court of the Krasnodar Territory sentenced 63-year-old Aleksandr Ivshin to 7.5 years in prison. He received such a long term for discussing the Bible and the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses with friends via video call, and also performing religious chants. On the same days, believers in Moscow, Birobidzhan, and Kyzyl were detained and accused of participating in extremist activities. In total, since 2017, when the organization was recognized as extremist and banned on the territory of the Russian Federation, more than 220 people have been subjected to persecution, including criminal prosecution, according to human rights activists. Go to the article
From the courtroom
What do believers say before they go to jail for their faith? Quotes from the last words of the defendants in courts:
The Defendant's Last Word
Oleg Danilov
Kholmskaya, Krasnodar region
“I don't know what the prosecutor expected from me. That I would renounce my faith or deny my friends and my God? For me it is unthinkable, impossible. I would rather remain faithful and free in my convictions, even if not free“
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The Defendant's Last Word
Olga Ivanova
Astrakhan
“The modern campaign of persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, which began after the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in April 2017 and continues to this day, is senseless and cruel. Why senseless? There is one very important feature: the stronger the persecution of a sincere believer, the stronger his faith becomes“
read more
The Defendant's Last Word
Yuriy Savelyev
Novosibirsk
“I was born in the Soviet Union, and from childhood I was taught to be truthful, respect elder ones, honor my parents, work honestly, and lead a healthy lifestyle. This is what I taught my children. And I am ashamed that Russia is once again staging a shameful persecution of the most peaceful, kind and law-abiding citizens of its country”
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The Defendant's Last Word
Andrey Andreyev
Kursk
“A year and 7 months in a pre-trial detention center did not harden me. I prayed daily that I would be able to keep the love for God and neighbor. I have no resentment, no anger, much less hatred for anyone, because this would be wrong“
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The Defendant's Last Word
Sergey Filatov
Dzhankoy, Crimea
“Honorable court! Peaceful family worship of God in the circle of family and friends cannot be recognized as extremism in a modern civilized society ruled of law, to which Russia considers itself. The role of an extremist is a cursing role. I ask not to apply it to me“
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The Defendant's Last Word
Yevgeniy Zinich
Krasnoyarsk
“I am deeply convinced that this trial, in which I am the defendant, is part of the drama that played out at the very beginning of human history. Satan, as an adversary of God, has spread many different lies, thoroughly confusing people”
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The Defendant's Last Word
Roman Baranovskiy
Abakan, Khakassia
“If the goal of punishment is the restoration of social justice, then in what way was social justice violated by me? What facts of its violation were established during the judicial investigation? There was no violation, so there is nothing to punish me for! If the purpose of punishment is to prevent the commission of new crimes, then did I commit crimes? According to the government of the Russian Federation, no special permits are required for prayers“
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The Defendant's Last Word
Viktor Stashevskiy
Sevastopol, Crimea
“I have been and still am one of Jehovah's Witnesses! And I really hope that today is not the 1st century AD, not the times of the medieval Inquisition and not 1937, when the state dictated conditions to people - in which God they can believe, and in which they cannot“
read more
What Russian Human Rights Experts Say
Russian human rights activists are deeply concerned about the mass repressions that resemble Soviet times.
Joint statement of more than 60 Russian public figures
June 19, 2018
What happens to them, in fact, happens to us. This is a test of the immune forces of society. The persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses highlights the failure of anti-extremist legislation in general. If the society fails to protect Jehovah's Witnesses, if they are not restored in their rights, this will mean that everyone can be declared an extremist. […] An experience of a person who found answers with Jehovah's Witnesses to his questions that the Catholic priest could not resolve, was declared by the courts as propaganda of religious superiority—that is all extremism. Such “extremism,” and much more brutal, can be found in theological, liturgical, and other texts of most faiths. If you take on religious scriptures with the same measure, you will have to ban all religions. What happens to them, in fact, happens to us. This is a test of the immune forces of society. The persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses highlights the failure of anti-extremist legislation in general. If the society fails to protect Jehovah's Witnesses, if they are not restored in their rights, this will mean that everyone can be declared an extremist. […] An experience of a person who found answers with Jehovah's Witnesses to his questions that the Catholic priest could not resolve, was declared by the courts as propaganda of religious superiority—that is all extremism. Such “extremism,” and much more brutal, can be found in theological, liturgical, and other texts of most faiths. If you take on religious scriptures with the same measure, you will have to ban all religions. Go to the article
Joint statement of 36 human rights and public organizations of Russia
January 24, 2019
We urge the Russian authorities to stop deprivations, interrogations and criminal investigations for peaceful religious activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We ask the international organizations and governments of the democratic states to call on the Russian government to end the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. […] After Russia outlawed the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the number of acts of intolerance, violence and discrimination based on religion or belief are increasingly perpetrated towards the members of the community. The private property is armed searched, the meetings for worship are regularly interrupted by the OMON forces and FSB agents. The state carries censorship of the religious literature. Go to the article
Statistics of Persecution
Since 2017, the number of Jehovah's Witnesses sentenced to prison terms has increased significantly.
What the International Community Says
International bodies and governments urge Russia to stop the repressions of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
United Nations
February 7, 2019
Harsh sentence imposed on Christensen creates a dangerous precedent, and effectively criminalises the right to freedom of religion or belief, for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. […] We urge the Government of Russia to revise the Federal Law on Combating Extremist Activity with a view to clarifying the vague and open-ended definition of ‘extremist activity’, and ensuring that the definition requires an element of violence or hatred. We also call on the authorities to drop charges against and to release all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of religion or belief, the freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
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Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
July 23, 2020
We have heard the Russian delegation claim more than once at the Permanent Council that Jehovah’s Witnesses are, and will continue to be, able to practice their religion freely, and that freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed in the Russian Federation. However, we continue to see numerous reports about home raids, detentions, and criminal investigations concerning Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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European Court of Human Rights
June 7, 2022
Although the Jehovah's Witnesses' publications have been widely available in many countries for decades, including in Russia, the Government has not submitted any evidence that they have caused interreligious tensions or led to any harmful consequences or violence, in Russia or elsewhere.
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European Union
March 12, 2020
All people, including members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, must be able to peacefully enjoy their human rights, including the right to freedom of religion or belief, freedom of association and peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, without discrimination.
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Resources
Find more information about Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia updated on a daily basis: