The case of Romanov and Others in Anadyr

Case History

In May 2023, the FSB in Anadyr opened a criminal case for faith against Sergey Romanov, Aleksey Volkov, Yuriy Yumashev, and Aleksandr Loshkarev. They were accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. A month later, in the city of Zhirnovsk (Volgograd region), located 6,500 kilometers from Anadyr, the apartment where Romanov was at that time was searched. The man was sent to a temporary detention facility, then to a pre-trial detention center in Volgograd, and soon transported to a temporary detention facility in the city of Anadyr, from where he was later released on recognizance not to leave. There are at least two secret witnesses in the case, and the believers were covertly monitored for about two years.

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    2021 year

    The FSB conducts covert operational-search measures against Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Anadyr. Security officials are trying to recruit people with an interest in the Bible to secretly make audio recordings of meetings with Jehovah's Witnesses.

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    May 5, 2023 Case initiated

    Vladimir Tsarapkin, an investigator of the FSB Directorate for the Chukotka Autonomous Region, initiates a criminal case under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against Sergey Romanov, Aleksey Volkov, Yuriy Yumashev and Aleksandr Loshkarev. The resolution states that "from 20.04.2017 ... acting jointly and in concert, [the four believers] by organizing and conducting religious meetings, carrying out missionary and preaching activities... involvement of new participants, as well as the collection of donations, organized the activities of the unregistered religious group "Jehovah's Witnesses in Anadyr" on the territory of the city of Anadyr, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

    The resolution states that the basis for initiating a criminal case was two expert opinions dated November 19, 2022 and May 3, 2023. One of them claims that believers allegedly promoted the exclusivity and superiority of the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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    June 1, 2023 Search

    In the city of Zhirnovsk (Volgograd region), in the apartment where Sergey Romanov is staying at this time, a search is underway. The police call the owner of the apartment to the place of the search. By the time she arrived, the door had been broken into, and there was a group of security officials in the apartment. They are led by Vladimir Tsarapkin, who arrived 6500 kilometers to Zhirnovsk from Anadyr. The woman is kept on the landing for about an hour, and when she finally gets into the apartment, she sees Romanov lying on the floor in handcuffs.

    Electronic devices, personal records and a large amount of money are seized from the landlady. All personal belongings are seized from Sergey. A search is conducted without a court decision on the basis of an investigator's order. Around midnight, at the end of the investigative event, the believer is taken away for interrogation to the neighboring town of Kamyshin.

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    June 2, 2023

    Sergey Romanov is placed in a temporary detention facility.

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    June 3, 2023

    Investigator Tsarapkin charges Sergey Romanov under Part 1 of Article 282. 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He informs the believer that he has been under surveillance for a long time and threatens him with 10 years in prison.

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    June 4, 2023 Detention center

    The Zhirnovsky District Court of the Volgograd Region chooses a measure of restraint for Sergey in the form of detention for a period of 2 months. The believer is placed in pre-trial detention center No. 3 in the Volgograd region in the city of Frolovo.

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    June 21, 2023

    Sergey Romanov is being held in solitary confinement. His physical and emotional condition is good. He can receive letters of support.

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    July 6, 2023 Detention center

    It becomes known that Sergey Romanov was transferred to SIZO-1 in Volgograd.

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    July 28, 2023 Temporary detention facility Deprivation of liberty Art. 282.2 (1)

    It becomes known that Sergei Romanov was placed in the temporary detention center of the city of Anadyr.

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    August 3, 2023 Detention center

    The believer is kept in a cell, where there are 3 other people besides him. The food is normal, the cell is cleaner compared to the situation in the pre-trial detention center in Volgograd. He does not complain about his health. Sergey does not have warm clothes.

    Romanov's relations with his cellmates and the administration of the temporary detention facility are normal. There is a Psalter and a New Testament from the local library.

    Technically, a believer can only receive paper letters, but whether they are handed over is not yet known. His letters from the Anadyr temporary detention center do not reach the addressees.

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    February 1, 2024 Recognizance agreement

    Sergey Romanov is released on his own recognizance. The believer spent 8 months in custody without one day.