The case of Malyanov and others in Nizhny Novgorod

Case history

In July 2019, mass searches were carried out in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nizhny Novgorod. After that, several believers became defendants in criminal cases under an article for extremism. One of them was filed against Sergey Konshin, Sergey Malyanov and his daughter, Svetlana. The believers spent 24 hours in a temporary holding facility. Even before these events, the officers were listening in on Malyanov’s telephone conversations. Later, another defendant appeared in the case - Roman Zhivolupov. The believers were added to the Rosfinmonitoring list and they had to sign a recognizance agreement. In February 2022, the case went to court. The charges are based on a video recording of an event. The investigation considered the party a continuation of the activity of a liquidated religious organization. In April 2023, these Nizhny Novgorod residents were sentenced to fines ranging from 450,000 to 700,000 rubles. Later, the court of appeal upheld the guilty verdict, toughening the additional part of the punishment – not to hold any leading positions in religious and public organizations for 2 years and 11 months.

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    2018–2019

    Law enforcement officers listen to Sergey Malyanov's telephone conversations, remove information about him from technical communication channels, and also monitor the believer.

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    August 31, 2018

    The judge of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court, Oleg Kolesnikov, makes a decision to conduct operational-search measures "in order to document the criminal activities of Oleg Konshin." They include listening to telephone conversations using audio recordings and "removing information from technical communication channels."

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    February 2019

    Sergey Malyanov notices that he is being followed. His phone calls are recorded.

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    June 4, 2019

    Oleg Makerov, senior investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod Region, initiates criminal cases against unidentified persons, "in whose act signs of a crime under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation are seen." The evidence base is collected by employees of the Center for Economics of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Nizhny Novgorod Region.

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    16.07.2019-17.07.2019

    Police and FSB officers, with the support of SOBR, are conducting mass searches in 31 families of Nizhny Novgorod believers.

    Vladimir Manushakyan, Oleg Konshin, Sergey and Svetlana Malyanov become defendants in a criminal case. They are detained and placed in a temporary detention facility.

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    July 18, 2019

    Manushakyan, Malyanov and Konshin are banned from certain actions.

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    05.12.2019, 10.12.2019

    The investigator inspects the materials obtained during the ORM in Malyanov's home. A recording of Malyanov's telephone conversations, made a few months earlier, is listened to.

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    June 15, 2020

    The investigator summons Oleg Konshin for questioning as a witness in the case of Sergei Verkhoturov. He rejects Konshin's petition to terminate the criminal case on the basis of Opinion No. 10/2020 of the UN Working Group and chooses a measure of restraint for the believer in the form of a written undertaking not to leave.

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    July 9, 2020 Case initiated

    The investigator opens a criminal case against Roman Zhivolupov under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    July 17, 2020 Recognizance agreement

    Roman Zhivolupov is charged with a written undertaking not to leave the place.

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    August 25, 2021 Recognizance agreement

    The investigator is prosecuting Svetlana Malyanova as a defendant under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. The believer is given a written undertaking not to leave the place.

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    August 26, 2021

    Oleg Konshin is charged with violating Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

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    August 30, 2021 Recognizance agreement

    The investigator prosecutes Sergey Malyanov as a defendant under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and takes a written undertaking not to leave the place from him.

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    November 11, 2021

    The case against Manushakyan is separated into separate proceedings.

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    November 22, 2021

    The indictment is being revised. Sergey Malyanov is being prosecuted under another part of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - 1.1 (involvement). Oleg Konshin, Roman Zhivolupov and Svetlana Malyanova remain accused of participating in the activities of an extremist organization (part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

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    November 26, 2021

    Part 1.1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (involvement) is excluded from Sergey Malyanov's charge.

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    February 1, 2022

    The case of Malyanov and other believers is submitted to the Leninsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod. It will be considered by judge Sergey Glushkov.

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    March 3, 2022 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The first court hearing is held.

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    November 15, 2022 Recognizance agreement

    Roman Zhivolupov is being prosecuted as a defendant in violation of Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is chosen a measure of restraint in the form of a written undertaking not to leave.

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    February 13, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    15 listeners are allowed into the courtroom.

    At the meeting, material evidence is examined, in particular, a video recording of the concert program. Sergey Malyanov explains that this event was not a worship service: music sounds, children perform on stage, tell fairy tales, some participants sing Russian folk songs, dance Irish dances, have a snack and take pictures from time to time. Oleg Konshin notes: "At the party there is no call for extremism and the overthrow of the state system, everything takes place in the spirit of kindness and love, great attention is paid to children so that they have fun and feel good."

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    February 27, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    At the hearing, they continue to watch the video of the concert. The attention of the state prosecutor is attracted by the inscription "We are all sisters, we are all brothers, we are a big family" on the screen during the event. "This can be wished to everyone to be so," comments Sergey Malyanov. "And on the screensaver there were beautiful landscapes with a waterfall and mountain peaks that would decorate any house."

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    March 13, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    20 listeners are allowed to attend the meeting. Sergey Malyanov and Oleg Konshin are being interrogated. The prosecutor asks them about the structure of the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia (liquidated by the court in 2017). The state prosecutor is also interested in whether Verkhoturov and Manushakyan are familiar to Sergey. Next, the defendants read out their written notes.

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    March 20, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Svetlana Malyanova and Roman Zhivolupov take written notes.

    Svetlana asks to attach to the case file documents about chronic diseases, as well as the fact that she cares for an elderly person and receives benefits.

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    March 27, 2023 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    At the meeting, the contents of the 2nd, 7th, 9th and 10th volumes of the case materials are read out and a fragment of the video recording is viewed.

    Part of the meeting - the announcement of recordings of telephone conversations of Sergey Malyanov - is held behind closed doors. Listeners are asked to leave the hall.

    Oleg Konshin asks to read in detail the 57th page of the 10th volume. It contains statements about how to overcome evil with good and how good manners bear good fruit in difficult circumstances.

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    April 10, 2023 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The prosecutor requests terms of imprisonment for believers: Sergey Malyanov - 6 years; Svetlana Malyanova is 4 years old; Roman Zhivolupov — 3 years and 10 months; Oleg Konshin is 3 years and 8 months old.

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    April 21, 2023 Final statement

    The defendants say the last word. During the performance of Oleg and Sergey, the judge interrupts them. The verdict is scheduled to be announced on April 26.

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    April 25, 2023 Final statement First Instance Sentence

    Referee: Sergey Glushkov. Leninsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod (Nizhny Novgorod, Cosmonaut Komarov Street, 10a, Hall No. 4).

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    April 26, 2023
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    August 3, 2023