Photo: Alexander Kabanov

Criminal trial

Faith As a Felony: New Details of the Criminal Case Against a Peaceful Civilian in Zelenogorsk

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On December 26, 2019, as a result of a series of searches in the closed city of Zelenogorsk (Krasnoyarsk Territory), a local resident, Aleksandr Kabanov, was detained and later released. A criminal case was opened against the believer under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Law enforcement officers believe that Aleksandr Kabanov organized the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses of Zelenogorsk. In particular, he is suspected of "holding weekly religious meetings, distributing religious ... installations of the organization and the involvement of new adherents.

According to the materials of the case, the grounds for the detention of the believer are the "obvious traces of a crime" discovered during the search, while it is not specified which items found indicate the guilt of Kabanov in committing a "particularly grave crime."

The case is being investigated by the head of the Investigation Department for Zelenogorsk, Colonel of Justice Oleg Kolosov. Y. Ufimtsev, senior investigator of the Investigative Department for the Closed Administrative Territory of Zelenogorsk, operatives of the FSB of Russia A. Bolatov, O. Panov and D. Lobanov were also involved in the investigation.

Alexander Kabanov became the ninth resident of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, whom the authorities suspect of extremist activity. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison just for believing in Jehovah God.

The case of Kabanov in Zelenogorsk

Case history
Siberian Aleksandr Kabanov faced criminal prosecution for believing in God at the end of December 2019. Then a series of searches took place in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Zelenogorsk. The believer spent a day behind bars, after which he was released. He was accused of “holding weekly religious meetings, distributing religious . . . the organization’s attitudes and the involvement of new adherents”, which the investigator of the Investigative Committee equated with participation in the activities of an extremist organization. In February 2021, the case went to the city court. In December of the same year, instead of announcing the verdict, the judge returned the case to the stage of judicial investigation. In August 2022, Aleksandr Kabanov was convicted of 2 years suspended, but the appeal returned the case to the prosecutor. In June 2023, the case was again submitted to the court of first instance. In January 2024, the prosecution requested 2 years and 6 months in prison for the believer, but the court returned the case to the prosecutor again.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnoyarsk Territory
Suspected of:
According to investigators, he "organized ... the activities of 24 groups of members of the banned organization and supervised their activities during weekly religious meetings, the dissemination of religious and ideological attitudes of the banned organization, as well as the involvement of new adherents"
Court case number:
December 26, 2019
Current case stage:
Case returned to prosecutor
Joint Investigative Directorate for the Closed Administrative District of Zelenogorsk of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-4/2024 (1-129/2023; 1-1/2022; 1-67/2021)
Зеленогорский городской суд Красноярского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Доронин Станислав