Photo: Invasion of Jehovah's Witnesses in Crimea (March 2019)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Searches and Arrests for Faith in Crimea


On March 20, 2019, in the Crimean cities of Yalta and Alupka, at least 6 homes of local followers of the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses were attacked by FSB officers. A criminal case was opened against the believers under the article "organization of the activities of an extremist organization." Several people were detained for questioning. 34-year-old Artem Gerasimov was taken to the republican center - Simferopol.

During the searches, computers and other electronic devices, as well as Bibles, were seized from believers. The case against the believers is being conducted by FSB investigators A. Lavrov and S. Bosiev.

Earlier, on November 15, 2018, a major operation against believers took place in Dzhankoy (Crimea).

Law enforcers mistakenly mistake citizens' religion for participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Prominent public figures of Russia, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation, as well as international organizations - the European Union External Action Service, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - drew attention to this problem. Jehovah's Witnesses have nothing to do with extremism and insist on their complete innocence. The Russian government has repeatedly stated that the decisions of the Russian courts on the liquidation and prohibition of organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses "do not assess the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses, do not contain a restriction or prohibition to practice the above teachings individually."

Case of Gerasimov in Yalta

Case history
In March 2019, Artyom Gerasimov, a cook by profession, was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. So the investigation called the peaceful conversations of the believer on religious topics and reading the Bible in a close circle, seeing in this a “public danger.” The apartments of Gerasimov and other believers were searched. A year later, the Yalta City Court sentenced him to a fine of 400 thousand rubles, but on June 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of Crimea toughened the sentence, replacing the fine with 6 years in prison. After Artyom was sent to the colony, the FSB officers began to “develop” his friends and acquaintances.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
according to the investigation, together with others he conducted religious services, which is interpreted as organising the activity of an extremist organisation (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:
March 15, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia for the Republic of Crimea
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-17/2020 (1-376/2019)
Ялтинский городской суд Республики Крым
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Владимир Романенко