Photo: search of Jehovah's Witnesses (archival photo)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

A wave of searches of believers in Budyonnovsk

Stavropol Territory

As it became known, in the early morning of June 26, 2019, in Budyonnovsk (Stavropol Territory), searches were carried out almost simultaneously in 6 houses of believers. The actions of law enforcement officers are connected with a series of arrests in nearby Neftekumsk, where three people have been in jail for more than 7 months.

Update. According to updated data, on this day 9, not 6 searches took place in the homes of believers.

Searches at the Budyonnivtsi began at about 6 a.m. In one case, the absent owner was tricked into returning home, where FSB officers were already inspecting the premises. One woman's home was searched in the presence of her 4-year-old son and adult daughter. In addition to his house, the 52-year-old believer's outbuildings, garage and car were searched. Security forces also invaded the homes of a 66-year-old widow and a 59-year-old man with a disability.

Law enforcement officers were interested in the religious views of citizens, and also offered them to identify the residents of Neftekumsk from photographs, whose "guilt" lies in the fact that they "after the decision of the Supreme Court of Russia to ban activities ... a religious organization [Jehovah's Witnesses] ... they have not renounced their religious views."

It is noteworthy that, in addition to investigator Y. Koropov and Major Klopotova from the Budyonnovsky Department of Internal Affairs, as well as their employees V. Kapitsa, R. Safonov and A. Prokhorov, FSB officers from Stavropol and St. Petersburg participated in the searches.

Case of Samsonov and Others in Neftekumsk

Case history
In August 2017, security forces conducted a raid on believers from Neftekumsk during a picnic. More than half of the 18 detained persons were children, the elderly and disabled persons. In December 2018, the FSB initiated a criminal case for extremism. Homes of local believers were searched. Shamil Sultanov, Konstantin Samsonov and Aleksandr Akopov spent about a year in a detention center. The prosecution repeatedly called convicted persons as witnesses. Some of them did not know the defendants. The defense pointed to the fabrication of the case materials. In March 2022, the prosecutor requested 9 years in a penal colony for Samsonov and 8 years each for Akopov and Sultanov. In April 2022, the court sentenced Samsonov to 7.5 years in a penal colony, Akopov and Sultanov each received a fine of 500,000 rubles. Following the results of the appeal, in August 2022, Samsonov paid a fine of 400,000 rubles taking into account the time served in the detention center, while Akopov and Sultanov paid 250,000 rubles each. This decision was upheld by the court of cassation.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Stavropol Territory
Suspected of:
“After the decision of Russia's Supreme Court to ban the activities...of the religious organization (of Jehovah's Witnesses)...he did not renounce his religious views.”
Court case number:
December 7, 2018
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Stavropol Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Court case number:
1-1/2022 (1-46/2021)
Нефтекумский районный суд Ставропольского края
Максим Мазикин