Photo: search of believers (2016)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Primorye Territory, the Third Criminal Case for Faith

Primorye Territory

On July 19, 2018, in the village of Razdolnoye (Primorsky Territory), armed masked law enforcement officers rudely broke into the homes of local residents who are suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. During the assault, law enforcement officers hit the 75-year-old landlord in the face. Shouting: "Lie down!" his hands were twisted behind his back.

When armed law enforcement officers broke into another apartment, there were at least seven people aged 70 or more, some of them disabled, together with the hostess. One woman had a seizure. An ambulance arrived at the scene and took the woman to intensive care.

Among others, investigators A.A. Sendzyuk and D.A. Shevchenko, FSB officer N.B. Belyaev, and Alexander Zhertovskoy, an employee of an unidentified law enforcement agency, participated in the operation against civilians. The case is being investigated by the Nadezhdinsky District Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia.

During the searches, phones, tablets, computers were seized from citizens. The detained citizens were taken for interrogation to the village of Volno-Nadezhdinskoye (Primorsky Territory). The interrogation dragged on until late at night.

This is the third criminal case for faith in the Primorsky Territory. The first case, against Valentin Osadchuk, is being investigated by the Investigative Department of the FSB of Russia in Vladivostok. The second case, against Dmitry Barmakin (sent to the pre-trial detention center until September 27, 2018), is being investigated by the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Pervorechensky District of Vladivostok.

Currently, criminal prosecution for faith, accompanied by rough searches and arrests of law-abiding citizens, occurs in 7 of the 9 regions of the Far Eastern Federal District, namely: in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), in the Amur, Magadan and Jewish Autonomous Regions , Primorsky (3), Khabarovsk and the Kamchatka Territory. Law enforcers mistakenly mistake the joint religion of citizens for participation in an extremist organization. Prominent public figures of Russia, as well as the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, have already drawn attention to this problem.

Case of Filippov in Razdolnoye

Case History
In the small Far Eastern village of Razdolnoye, several pensioners suddenly found themselves in the spotlight of the Investigative Committee because they profess the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 2017, then 74-year-old Vladimir Filippov, a former career military man, talked about his faith with a certain B.N. Ulyankin, who portrayed an interest in the Bible. Since then, the believer has been put under surveillance, searched three times (including without a court order) and even beaten. Due to stress, Vladimir’s wife suffered attacks of hypertension. In May 2020, the case was referred to the court, and in December the hearings reached the finish line: the state prosecutor recommended that the court sentence the pensioner to 6.5 years in prison. On March 15, 2021, the judge of the Nadezhdinskiy District Court of the Primorsky Territory, Diana Merzlyakova, sentenced the believer to 6 years of suspended imprisonment with a probation period of 4 years and with restriction of liberty for 1 year. The Primorsky Regional Court upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, he "committed active actions of an organizational nature ... expressed in the convening of meetings, the organization of religious speeches and worship ... distribution of literature with extremist content, implementation of preaching activities"
Court case number:
July 1, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Primorsky Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-7/2021 (1-130/2020)
Надеждинский районный суд Приморского края
Case History