Photo: cleaning of the territory in the city of Orel, April 2017.

Opinions from Outsiders

Dennis Christensen, who is languishing in a pre-trial detention center, and his fellow believers received gratitude from local authorities

Oryol Region

The authorities of the city of Oryol awarded local Jehovah's Witnesses for their active participation in cleaning the city from garbage. Believers were pleased to receive gratitude from the city administration and a gift (book) with the signature: "In gratitude for a good deed - garbage collection for the benefit of people and nature."

Подпись на ценном подарке
Signature on a gift from the city administration

Jehovah's Witnesses, wherever they live, seek to benefit their neighbors not only by spreading Bible knowledge, but also by participating in various types of socially useful activities. The same is the civic position of Dennis Christensen, one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Oryol who took an active part in the cleanup. Standing knee-deep in the cold water of the Orlik River, he pulled garbage out of the river with a net. All work was carried out free of charge.

Cleaning of the territory in the city of Orel, 2011–2017

In view of this, it is especially paradoxical that Christensen has been languishing in a city pre-trial detention center for almost three weeks on falsified charges of organizing an extremist community. Believers are perplexed, because, according to the city authorities, it is this community that benefits the city. Garbage collection turned out to be the last good deed of Dennis, which he managed to do while free.

It is noteworthy that the representative of the Oryol administration sympathized with Jehovah's Witnesses in connection with religious persecution in the country and wished them not to lose their fortitude.

Case of Christensen in Oryol

Case History
Dennis Christensen is the first Jehovah’s Witness in modern Russia to be imprisoned only because of his faith. He was arrested in May 2017. The FSB accused the believer of organizing the activities of a banned organization on the basis of the testimony of a secret witness, theologian Oleg Kurdyumov from a local university, who kept covert audio and video recordings of conversations with Christensen about faith. There are no extremist statements or victims in the case. In 2019, the court sentenced Christensen to 6 years in prison. The believer was serving time in the Lgov colony. He repeatedly asked for the replacement of part of the unserved term with a fine. For the first time, the court granted the request, but the prosecutor’s office appealed this decision, and the prison administration threw the believer into a punishment cell on trumped-up charges. Christensen developed illnesses that prevented him from working in prison. On May 24, 2022, the believer was released after serving his sentence and was immediately deported to his homeland, Denmark.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Oryol Region
Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with the others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as “organising the activity of an extremist organisation” (with reference to the court’s decision on the liquidation of the local organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
May 23, 2017
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
UFSB of Russia in the Oryol region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
[i18n] Рассмотрено судом первой инстанции:
Железнодорожный районный суд г. Орла
Алексей Николаевич Руднев
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Орловский областной суд
[i18n] Суд апелляционной инстанции:
Льговский райсуд Курской области
Case History