Search of Jehovah's Witnesses in Mordovia (2019)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Primorye, new searches for faith, one believer stayed behind bars for two days

Primorye Territory

On June 18, 2019, searches and detentions for religious beliefs continued in the Primorsky Territory. In the city of Ussuriysk, officers of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation searched the apartments of two believers who are suspected of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. Mobile phones and other electronic devices were seized from Sergey Korolchuk and Dmitry Tishchenko. Dmitry Tishchenko's wife was interrogated as a witness to the "crime".

At the same time, Sergey Korolchuk was detained and placed in a temporary detention center, where he stayed until June 20. During the interrogation, it turned out that Sergey had been under covert video surveillance for a long time. The believer was charged under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - "organizing the activities of an extremist organization."

Earlier, on June 5, 2019, Sergey Melnikov was detained in Ussuriysk and sent to a pre-trial detention center for two months. In general, this is the seventh criminal case against Jehovah's Witnesses in the Primorsky Territory. Five believers in the region remain in detention. Despite this, the Russian authorities claim 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." Public figures, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other Russian and international organizations have repeatedly drawn attention to religious persecution in Russia.

Update. On October 23, 2019, in Ussuriysk, 45-year-old Vitaliy Ilinykh and his wife Irina underwent another search.

Case of Korolchuk in Ussuriysk

Case History
In June 2019 in the city of Ussuriysk, searches were conducted in the homes of peaceful citizens Sergey Korolchuk and Dmitriy Tishchenko. The searches were conducted because of a criminal case under Article 282.2(1) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation initiated by E. Marvanyuk, the investigator of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Primorsky Territory. The third defendant was Anton Chermnykh, the father of a young child. The case was based on the testimony of FSB officer K. Rusakov, who for about a year followed the believers and listened in on Tishchenko’s telephone conversations. In the opinion of the investigation, by meeting friends in a cafe to discuss the Bible, the men committed “a crime against the foundations of the constitutional order and the security of the State.” The believers were under house arrest for almost three years. In September 2020 Judge Dmitry Babushkin began considering the case in the Ussuriysky District Court. The defense emphasized that the key witness gave false testimony, and expert Oleshkevich made a biased and incompetent conclusion. On November 30, 2022, the judge found the believers guilty and gave them six-year suspended prison sentences, and in May 2023 the appellate court upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation he “took steps to organize the recruitment of new members aimed at continuing the illegal activities of the banned religious organization ‘Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia’” (with reference to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the liquidation of the religious organization “Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia” and its structural divisions)
Court case number:
June 18, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigation Department for Ussuriysk city of the Investigation Administration of the IC of Russia for Primorye Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-9/2022 (1-57/2021; 1-659/2020)
Уссурийский районный суд Приморского края
Дмитрий Бабушкин
Case History