Photo: Olga Opaleva

Crimes Against Believers

In Spassk-Dalny, a believer suffered a stroke in a convoy car. After that, she put an electronic bracelet on her leg, which was not paralyzed

Primorye Territory

On October 10, 2019, in the convoy car of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN), on the way to court, 67-year-old Olga Opaleva became ill, she was hospitalized with an ischemic stroke. On October 23, she was escorted from the hospital back to house arrest. The left side of her body is paralyzed, and an electronic bracelet is worn on her right leg. He moves around the room with difficulty.

Olga Opaleva is one of 4 defendants in the case of Malevaniy and others in Spassk-Dalny (Primorsky Krai). In November 2018, she was kept in a detention center for 2 days, the investigator petitioned for her detention, but the court chose a measure of restraint in the form of house arrest.

In September, they began to acquaint her with 14 volumes of criminal case materials, for this she was taken to the investigating authority under the escort of the Federal Penitentiary Service. Additional pressure was exerted on her by the court on September 25, 2019, ruling that she had time to familiarize herself with the volumes of the case only until October 20, 2019 (which limits her right to judicial protection).

On the day when Olga Opaleva was taken from the hospital back under house arrest and put a bracelet on her healthy leg, law enforcement officers invaded the house of her son Vitaly Ilyinykh, who takes care of her. After that, Vitaliy was taken into custody, in the near future the court will choose a measure of restraint for him. Vitaliy is accused of the same thing as his mother - of believing in Jehovah God.

In total, there are more than 20 Jehovah's Witnesses in the cities of Vladivostok, Luchegorsk, Partizansk, Spassk-Dalny and Ussuriysk, as well as in the village of Razdolnoye, as accused or suspects in the Primorsky Territory. At least 8 criminal cases have been initiated, some of them are being investigated by the FSB, and some by the Investigative Committee. For example, in one of the cases investigated by the Primorsky FSB, there are 6 women aged 61 to 85 years in the dock.

The investigation into what Olga Opaleva, her son and other residents of Spassk-Dalniy believe in began with an FSB operation that took place on the evening of August 12, 2018. At least 17 FSB officers invaded a rented room on Krasnoznamennaya Street, where a friendly meeting was taking place. Phones and tablets were seized from those present. Until late at night, citizens were asked questions under the protocol, for example: was the name "Jehovah" pronounced at the meeting? Was the Bible read in the New World Translation?

Case of Malevaniy and Others in Spassk-Dalny

Case History
In the fall of 2018, searches were carried out in Spassk-Dalny at the homes of Dmitry Malevany, Alexei Trofimov, Olga Panyuta, Olga Opaleva and their fellow believers. The reason for the persecution of civilians was their faith in Jehovah God. The believers were accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and involving others in it. The case is based on the testimony of secret witnesses “Sidorova” and “Ivanova”, who monitored the believers on instructions from the FSB. On the eve of the search, Olga Opaleva suffered a heart attack, and later, on the way to court, a stroke. The four believers spent a year under house arrest, and since November 2019 they have been under a recognizance agreement. In December 2019, the case went to court. In February 2023, the believers were sentenced: Dmitry Malevanoy was given 7 years in a penal colony, Alexey Trofimov  6.5 years in prison, Olga Panyuta - 4.5 years in prison, and Olga Opaleva - 5 years suspended. The appeal reduced each of these terms by two months, the cassation supported this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
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:
November 12, 2018
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Department of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Primorskiy Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (1.1)
Court case number:
1-4/2023 (1-4/2022; 1-7/2021; 1-70/2020; 1-570/2019)
Court of First Instance:
Спасский районный суд Приморского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Павел Бобрович
Case History