On September 5, 2019, in Petrozavodsk (Karelia, Russia), FSB officers detained Mikhail Gordeev right at his workplace, suspecting him of practicing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was searched, his tablet was seized, and he was taken to the FSB department. A criminal case was opened.
A wave of religious persecution in Russia reached Karelia, as the local FSB simultaneously opened three criminal cases against Jehovah's Witnesses, naming Aleksey Smelov, 44, from Kondopoga, and Maksim Amosov, 42, and Nikolay Leshchenko, 57, from Petrozavodsk. Each was the subject of a search, and a written recognizance agreement was taken from each. On July 31, 2019, in total, six searches in the homes of believers took place in the town of Kondopoga, and at least 11 searches were conducted in the city of Petrozavodsk.
On July 31, 2019, the Federal Security Service for the Republic of Karelia searched at least 15 homes and workplaces of citizens considered to be Jehovah's Witnesses in the city of Petrozavodsk and the town of Kondopoga. Men and women were detained for interrogation, some for the whole night. There has been no communication with several who apparently still are being held.
The Petrozavodsk City Court partially granted the claim of the prosecutor’s office, which requested that ownership of the religious building of Jehovah’s Witnesses be transferred to the Russian Federation.
The case suddenly took an interesting legal turn. Three countries are involved in the judicial process.
On 31 May 2017 in Moscow, at a meeting in the Kremlin, the country’s president gave Valeriy and Tatyana Novik, Jehovah’s Witnesses from Karelia, the “Order of Parental Glory” medal.