Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

New Criminal Case for Faith in Crimea. Home of Jehovah's Witnesses Raided in Feodosia


On May 22, 2023, early in the morning a search was carried out at the home of a married couple in Feodosia. One of Jehovah's Witnesses, Maksim Zinchenko, 31, was detained and taken to Sevastopol.

The search, which took place from 06:30 to 10:00 am, was led by investigator Nikolay Pogorelov. The task force consisted of more than 10 people, five of whom were armed. The law enforcement officers ordered the hosts and the married couple who were visiting them to lie down on the floor. The investigator suggested that Zinchenko's wife cooperate with the investigation, intimidating her with a long prison term for her husband and a ban on visiting him. Electronic devices were confiscated from the believers. The detention of Maksim Zinchenko was preceded by a long period of surveillance.

Despite condemnation from the global community, the Russian authorities continue to prosecute Jehovah's Witnesses. In Crimea, 13 criminal cases for faith were initiated, 12 believers were sentenced to imprisonment in penal colonies.

Case of Zinchenko in Sevastopol

Case history
In May 2023, in Feodosia, employees of the Investigative Committee and the FSB conducted a search in the apartment of the Zinchenko couple, who had been under surveillance since 2020. A criminal case has been initiated against Maksim Zinchenko. The investigation considered reading and discussing Bible verses with friends to be participation in the activity of an extremist organization. Two days after the search and interrogation, the believer was placed under house arrest. The charges were based on video recordings of four meetings of worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses made by secret FSB agents. In July 2023, the case went to court.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
"Aware of the public danger and illegality of their actions aimed at undermining the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the state ... acting out of extremist motives... took active steps ... expressed in repeated participation in religious meetings ... preached at meetings... actively participated in the study of religious literature"
Court case number:
May 17, 2023
Current case stage:
trial in Court of First Instance
Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Court of First Instance:
Нахимовский районный суд города Севастополя
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Валерий Кузнецов