Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

New Searches in the Sverdlovsk Region. Criminal Proceedings Initiated Against Three Believer

Sverdlovsk Region

On the morning of April 14, 2023, in the settlements of Lesnoy, Kachkanar and Tayozhny (Sverdlovsk Region), searches were carried out at 5 addresses of believers, including 58-year-old Andrey Bannykh. Earlier, a criminal case was initiated against him as well as Pavel Loshchinin and Andrey Kozhushko, for their faith.

Pavel Loshchinin in his appeal against the decision to initiate a criminal case stated: “The descriptive and motivating part of the resolution contains absolutely no specific argumentation, and there are clearly contradictory arguments... Following religious teaching and studying religious literature is not a crime in itself”.

Another suspect in the case, Andrey Bannykh, is one of the applicants whose appeal was granted by the ECHR, declaring the prosecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia illegal. The Court held that “respondent State must take all necessary measures to secure the discontinuation of all pending criminal proceedings against Jehovah’s Witnesses” (§ 290).

The case of Kozhushko and Others in Lesnoy

Case History
In March 2023, a criminal case was initiated against the peaceful citizens of Lesnoy, Pavel Loshchinin and Andrey Bannykh, as well as Andrey Kozhushko who lives in the village of Tayezhnyy. For discussing the Bible together, the investigation suspects the believers of “organizing the study of extremist materials and other religious literature”. In April, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation conducted searches at 6 addresses of Jehovah’s Witnesses as part of this case. Andrey Bannykh is one of the believers whose complaint was satisfied by the ECHR, declaring the prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia unlawful. The case went to court in May 2024.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Sverdlovsk Region
Court case number:
March 28, 2023
Current case stage:
trial in court of first instance
Investigation Department for the Closed Administrative Territory of the city of Lesnoy of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Sverdlovsk Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Городской суд города Лесного Свердловской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Людмила Ерзикова
Case History