Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In the City of Oryol a Wave of Searches in the Apartments of Dennis Christensen’s Fellow Believers

Oryol Region

On December 9, 2020, at least three searches in the apartments of local followers of religion Jehovah's Witnesses take place in the city of Oryol. It is reported that criminal proceedings have been initiated against three believers.

Three believers were detained and sent to a temporary detention center: Vladimir Piskaryov, 64, Artur Putintsev, 50, and Vladimir Melnik, 54. A married couple was also taken in for questioning, but were later released. According to updated information, searches were carried out at 7 addresses. During the search of Artur and Lyudmila Putintsev's home, an investigator pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the dog. Electronic devices, books and personal records were seized from the believers. In one of the apartments, law enforcement officers seized a collection of poems, explaining that they were looking for anything that contained the name Jehovah.

On December 11, the Sovetsky District Court of Orel sent Vladimir Melnik and Vladimir Piskarev to a pre-trial detention center for 2 months. Artur Putintsev was left by the court in the temporary detention facility.

Update. On December 14, the judge of the Sovetsky District Court of Orel, Andrei Tretyakov, decided to send Artur Putintsev to a pre-trial detention center for 2 months.

According to the official press-release of the Investigative Committee, the case was initiated under part 2 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code. It is reported that the believers in Oryol and Naryshkino were identified by FSB and MVD officers. The believers are accused for "convening meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses, in which they personally participated and formed their summons."

Two local Jehovah's Witnesses have already been convicted for their faith: Dennis Christensen and Sergey Skrynnikov.

Case of Piskarev and Others in Oryol

Case History
Since 2009, Vladimir Melnik, a father of many children from Oryol, has been recording the facts of pressure, threats and provocations from the FSB. In December 2020, he was invaded by armed security forces. Vladimir Piskarev and Artur Putintsev were also detained. The believers were placed in a pre-trial detention center, and their names were added to the Rosfinmonitoring list. In January 2022, the case went to court. During the hearings, it became clear that a hidden wiretapping was installed in Piskarev’s apartment, from which audio recordings formed the basis of the charges. In the pre-trial detention center, his health began to deteriorate—he suffered a stroke and more than one hypertensive crisis. Nevertheless, the preventive measure was not mitigated either for him, or for Melnik, or for Putintsev. In October 2023, the court sentenced the three believers to 6 years in a penal colony. In March 2024, a court of appeal upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Oryol Region
Court case number:
December 8, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate for the Sovetsky District of the City of Oryol of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Oryol Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-16/2023 (1-123/2022)
Советский районный суд г. Орла
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Наталья Тишкова
Case History