Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Homes of Jehovah's Witnesses were searched in Syktyvkar. Three believers are now behind bars


On the morning of March 2, 2021, at least 4 families of local believers were searched in Syktyvkar. Four men were detained and placed in a temporary detention center. One of them, 59-year-old Sergei Ushakhin, was later released on recognizance not to leave. The rest are awaiting a court decision.

Update. On March 3, 2021, the court left 42-year-old Aleksandr Kruglyakov in custody for 2 months. 49-year-old Andrey Kharlamov and 53-year-old Aleksandr Ketov were placed under house arrest.

During the searches, Bibles, electronic devices and personal records were confiscated from believers.

The investigative measures took place shortly after the senior investigator of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Investigative Committee of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Komi Republic, Major of Justice Alexander Belov, opened criminal cases against five believers, including one woman. The investigation suspects them of organizing and participating in the activities of a banned organization (parts 1 and 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), considering as extremism peaceful religious meetings at which believers read the Bible, prayed and sang religious songs. Details are being specified.

Case of Kruglyakov and Others in Syktyvkar

Case History
In March 2021, massive searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place in Syktyvkar. Sergey Ushakhin, Andrey Kharlamov, Aleksandr Ketov and Aleksandr Kruglyakov were placed in a temporary detention facility. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against them and Lidiya Nekrasova, accusing the believers of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and participating in it. Sergey, 60, a group II disabled person, and Lydia, 68, were under recognizance agreement. Kharlamov and Ketov found themselves under house arrest, and Kruglyakov — in custody for two months. Later, for Ketov and Kruglyakov, the preventive measure was changed to prohibition of certain actions. After a year, the case went to trial. Since the charges were drawn up in violation of the law and no facts of extremism were identified, the judge returned the case to the prosecutor. In January 2023, it was back in court. In August 2023, Sergey Ushakhin’s condition suddenly deteriorated, and he died.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
«... studying the religious norms of a banned organization by reading poems, watching videos, participating in meetings, meetings of a banned organization."
Court case number:
March 2, 2021
Current case stage:
trial in court of first instance
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Komi Republic
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Сыктывкарский городской суд Республики Коми
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Евгений Сажин
Case History