Case of Rumyantseva in Vyselki

Case History

In February 2022, a wave of searches took place in the Krasnodar Territory, affecting at least 51 people. Among them was a believer from the village of Vyselki, Yelena Rumyantseva, and her daughter Vasilina Penskaya. In June 2023, a criminal case under an extremist article was opened by the Investigative Committee against Rumyantseva. The investigation considered it a crime to “participate in religious teaching and sermons … conversations and religious discussions.” Six months later, the case was sent to court. In June 2024, the case was transferred to another judge, in connection with which a new trial began.

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    February 13, 2022 Search Prosecution of several family members

    In the village of Vyselki and neighboring settlements, searches are being conducted at at least 31 addresses, including Yelena Rumyantseva's. In total, the investigation involves at least 51 people, some of whom are not Jehovah's Witnesses. The search is also taking place at her daughter, Vasilina Penskaya, who lives separately.

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    June 15, 2023 Case initiated Art. 282.2 (2)

    The Investigative Committee initiates a criminal case against Elena Rumyantseva under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. It is based on the testimony of a secret witness under the pseudonym "Shepherd" who has attended Jehovah's Witnesses services in the past. Later, the man again began to communicate with believers and film online worship services in order to transmit this information to the Center for Countering Extremism.

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    July 11, 2023 Rosfinmonitoring

    Elena Rumyantseva is being interrogated. She learns that her bank accounts have been blocked by Rosfinmonitoring.

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    August 10, 2023 Interrogation Recognizance agreement

    Elena Rumyantseva is being re-interrogated, she is being asked to sign a not to leave the place.

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    August 15, 2023 Art. 282.2 (2)

    Senior investigator Roman Latysh charges Yelena Rumyantseva with "taking a direct part in religious teaching and sermons ... entered into conversations and religious discussions with other participants, participated in the discussion of the "Holy Scriptures" (the Bible) ... read religious books aloud to other participants."

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    November 27, 2023

    The case is transferred to the investigator - Lieutenant of Justice D. P. Bondarenko.

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    December 19, 2023

    Investigator Bondarenko issues an indictment against Elena Rumyantseva.

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    December 29, 2023 Case went to court

    The case goes to the Vyselkovsky District Court. It will be considered by judge Oksana Melnikova.

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    February 21, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    Elena Rumyantseva speaks with an attitude to the prosecution: "There are no real victims and victims in this case. It turns out that my only fault is that I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I am judged solely for my faith. But according to the Constitution, I have the right to have a Bible, read and discuss it with others."

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    May 6, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance Expert conclusions

    The court examines the case materials, including religious and linguistic examinations.

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    May 21, 2024 Hearing in a court of the first instance Expert conclusions

    The prosecution reads out the opinion of an expert psychologist. The judge accepts the lawyer's remark that this examination has nothing to do with Elena Rumyantseva.

    Then prosecutor Tatyana Pyatnitskaya continues to read out the case materials. The lawyer states that the prosecution does not explain on what grounds it considers Rumyantseva an active participant in the meetings for worship.

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    June 17, 2024 Retrial (court of first instance)

    The case is transferred to Judge Elizaveta Proskuryakova, and the hearings begin anew.