Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

A Special Operation Against Jehovah's Witnesses Is Being Carried out in the Town of Nazarovo, Krasnoyarsk Region

Krasnoyarsk Territory

In the morning of June 18, 2020, security forces came with searches in houses of peaceful law-abiding believers. Preliminary reports indicate that 15 families have been searched. The news is being supplemented.

Update. It became known that the searches began simultaneously at 6 am and were carried out at least 12 addresses. The victims of the searches were 28 believers, including children. Most of them were also interrogated. Ivan Shulyuk, a 43-year-old believer, was detained and sent to jail for 48 hours. A criminal case has been opened against him for his faith. In the coming days, the court will choose a measure of restraint for him.

It is noteworthy that Jehovah's Witnesses living in Nazarovo have been practicing their religion for several generations: 70 years ago, families of believers were forcibly exiled. An interesting piece of evidence contains a published and publicly available archival document - a memorandum to the Council on Religious Affairs dated August 5, 1976. The document stated, among other things: "The Jehovahists' grouping [Jehovah's Witnesses] in the city of Nazarovo was formed in 1951 ... Currently, it unites more than 107 people. ... Persons under the age of 40 account for 55.2%. [...] The Jehovah's Association in Nazarovo is a deeply conspiratorial Jehovah's Witnesses underground, working to attract new individuals to the sect and leading Jehovah's Witnesses groups in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. [...] The Executive Committee of the City Council, which monitors compliance with the legislation on religious cults, was to work to stop the organized activities of this grouping, compromise the leaders and create public opinion around them, to separate ordinary believers from their influence, and also to carry out extensive propaganda of Soviet legislation on religious cults" (Quoted from: Odintsov M. I. The Council of Ministers of the USSR decides: "Evict forever". Moscow, 2002, pp. 123-124). All believers who were persecuted during the Soviet period were later recognized as victims of political repression and rehabilitated.

Case of Shulyuk in Nazarov

Case History
Ivan Shulyuk’s grandparents were subjected to repression for their faith in the 1940s and 1950s. In 2020, their grandson, a peaceful believer from Nazarov, faced the same persecution. In June, Ivan ended up in a temporary detention center after a rash of searches in his city. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against him, on suspicion of organizing the activities of an extremist organization, solely because of his religion. Shulyuk spent about a month in custody, then he was released under a recognizance agreement. In August 2021, the case went to trial. The case materials contained expert opinions confirming that the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not prohibited and there are no signs of extremism in the materials examined. In May 2023, the City Court of the Krasnoyarsk Territory sentenced the believer to a seven year suspended sentence. An appeal court upheld the decision in September.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnoyarsk Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, he is "a leader with broad functionality" and "forms a strong opinion about the need to continue the activities of the religious organization Jehovah's Witnesses despite its ban."
Court case number:
June 17, 2020
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
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 (1)
Court case number:
1-4/2023 (1-26/2022; 1-365/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Назаровский городской суд Красноярского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Лев Афанасьев
Case History