Photo: Ruslan Korolev

Criminal Investigation and Trial

The believer was released under house arrest after 112 days in a Smolensk pre-trial detention center

Smolensk Region

On August 14, 2019, a resident of Smolensk, Ruslan Korolev, was released from the pre-trial detention center, where he spent almost four months. Now the believer will be under house arrest, but three more men and two women remain imprisoned in the Smolensk pre-trial detention center.

Ruslan Korolev, 37, was arrested on April 25, 2019, along with two other citizens. Before that, according to the already familiar scenario, searches were carried out in the houses of believers, and the security forces themselves were taken for interrogation to the Investigative Department of the FSB, from where they never left, having gone to jail.

A few days later, Yevgeny Deshko, the fourth suspect in this criminal case, was detained in Dagomys (Krasnodar Territory). All these civilians are accused of "extremist activities." The case is being investigated by the FSB of Russia in the Smolensk region.

Two women are also being held in the Smolensk pre-trial detention center on similar charges: Tatyana Galkevich and Valentina Vladimirova, both of retirement age, and before them, Maria Troshina and Natalia Sorokina spent more than six months behind bars.

Peaceful believers across the country continue to face criminal prosecution and real prison terms. This is happening despite the protests of international organizations such as the European Union's foreign policy service, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights . In Russia itself, the absurdity of accusations against Jehovah's Witnesses is recognized by public figures and even Russian President Vladimir Putin. 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 Shalev and Others in Smolensk

Case History
In April 2019, Jehovah’s Witnesses from Smolensk—Ruslan Korolev, Valery Shalev, and Viktor Malkov—were sent to jail. The day before, searches were carried out in their homes. Yevgeny Deshko was detained in Dagomys (Krasnodar Territory) as the fourth suspect in this criminal case. The believers spent 4 to 8 months in jail and another 3 to 7 months under house arrest. Due to the stress and conditions of detention in the pre-trial detention center, Viktor’s heart problems worsened, and he died without waiting for the trial. The criminal case under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was investigated by the FSB of Russia in the Smolensk Region. In the Industrial District Court of Smolensk, the prosecutor asked Judge Marina Masalskaya to send Shalev and Deshko to jail for 8 years, and Korolev for 9 years for discussing Christian teachings. In April 2021, a judge found them guilty, but sentenced them to suspended imprisonment ranging from 6 to 6.5 years. In August 2021, the Court of Appeal approved the punishment for the believers. The cassation court upheld the decisions of the lower courts.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Smolensk Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation he “organized and held a joint prayer to ‘Jehovah’, carried out a demonstration of videos ... informing adherents on issues of participation in conventions ... organizing and conducting subsequent joint meetings” (from the indictment)
Court case number:
April 25, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Directorate of the FSB of Russia for the Smolensk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-2/2021 (1-159/2020)
Промышленный районный суд г. Смоленска
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Марина Масальская
Case History