Photo: search of believers (2016)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Khabarovsk, the disruption of a friendly meeting, searches and new arrests for faith

Khabarovsk Territory

On November 12, 2018, the Industrial District Court of Khabarovsk sent to jail 46-year-old Vitaly Zhuk, 48-year-old Nikolai Polevodov and 50-year-old Stanislav Kim, suspected of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The arrests were preceded by an operation with the participation of riot police to capture citizens who had gathered in a café for a friendly non-religious meeting.

On November 10, 2018, a friendly meeting was held in a rented café in Khabarovsk, which was attended by about 55 people. The purpose of the meeting was to treat and entertain, it was not religious in nature. Half an hour after the start, at least 30 riot policemen led by FSB investigators suddenly invaded the building, breaking down the doors. The fighters dispersed around the perimeter of the room, ordered everyone to stay in their seats and forbade touching phones and tablets. After that, everyone who was in the café was interrogated (including minors), fingerprinted and photographed, and many had their tablets and phones seized. All this lasted 5 hours. Several men and a woman of retirement age were detained and taken away for searches. On November 12, 2018, Svetlana Telina, judge of the Industrial District Court of Khabarovsk, decided to arrest Vitaliy Zhuk for 2 months. Following him, Stanislav Kim and Nikolai Polevodov were sent to the pre-trial detention center.

A criminal case under 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was initiated on November 10, 2018 by the Investigative Directorate for the city of Khabarovsk of the Investigative Committee of the Khabarovsk Territory. Vitaliy Zhuk, Stanislav Kim and Nikolay Polevodov are prosecuted under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation ("organization of activities of an extremist community"), and two women, one of them of retirement age, are prosecuted under Part 2 ("participation in the activities of an extremist community"). The proceedings in the case were entrusted to a group of 8 investigators, the investigator for especially important cases D. Shlenchak was appointed its head.

Earlier, on August 2, 2018, the FSB of Russia in the Khabarovsk Territory conducted searches in at least 4 houses of Khabarovsk residents who are suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. 51-year-old Valery Moskalenko was sent to pre-trial detention center-1 in the Khabarovsk Territory. Law enforcement agencies across the country mistakenly interpret peaceful meetings of believers as "extremist activity." Dozens of human rights activists, as well as the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation , express concern about the growing religious repression.

Case of Polevodov and Others in Khabarovsk

Case History
Khabarovsk civilians Nikolay Polevodov, Stanislav Kim, spouses Vitaliy and Tatyana Zhuk, Svetlana Sedova and Maya Karpushkina were under investigation after a riot police unit broke into a friendly party in a café in November 2018. Three men were sent to a pre-trial detention center, and later under house arrest. As a result, the Investigative Committee charged six of Jehovah’s Witnesses: the men with organizing the activities of an extremist organization, and the women with participating in it. The only reason for the charge was believing in Jehovah God and discussing the Bible with friends. 14 months of trials and 20 hearings in the court of first instance revealed the groundlessness of the accusation, and the case was returned to the prosecutor’s office. In December 2021, it went to court again. The defense noted the biased attitude of Judge Roman Chiskovskiy. The prosecutor requested 9 years in prison for three men and 5 years of suspended sentence for three women.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Khabarovsk Territory
Suspected of:
according to the investigation they organised the activity of the religious organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the city of Khabarovsk (with reference to the decision of the Russian Supreme Court on the liquidation of all 396 registered organisations of Jehovah’s Witnesses)
Court case number:
November 10, 2018
Current case stage:
trial in court of first instance
Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Khabarovsk Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-6/2024,1-15/2023 (1-216/2022; 1-1031/2021; 1-18/2020; 1-553/2019)
Индустриальный районный суд г. Хабаровска
Роман Чисковский
Case History