Photo: invasion of believers in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in 2019 (archival photo)

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Criminal Case, Searches and Interrogations in Minusinsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory

Krasnoyarsk Territory

On the evening of April 19, 2019, in Minusinsk, officers of the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service with the participation of Rosgvardia fighters invaded the homes of citizens believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses. Searches were carried out in 5 houses. More than 30 people were detained for questioning and later released. A criminal case has been opened against 42-year-old Dmitry Maslov under the article "organization of extremist activity" (part 1 of article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). He signed a recognizance not to leave.

During one of the intrusions, an employee of the National Guard pushed 76-year-old Alexander Potemkin, because of which the man fell and received bodily injuries. His house was searched, electronic devices were seized.

Religious persecution in his city was launched by V. Kolenichenko, acting head of the Minusinsk District Department of the Main Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnoyarsk Territory, who on April 19, 2019 authorized the searches on his own, explaining that "going to court with a petition for a search is not possible due to the late time of the day." Earlier in the day, a criminal case was opened against Dmitry Maslov for the fact that, according to investigators, he rented a holiday cottage and organized a worship service there.

Law enforcers mistakenly mistake citizens' religion for participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Prominent public figures of Russia, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation, as well as international organizations - the European Union External Action Service, observers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - drew attention to this problem. Jehovah's Witnesses have nothing to do with extremism and insist on their complete innocence. The Russian government has repeatedly stated that the decisions of the Russian courts on the liquidation and prohibition of organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses "do not assess the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses, do not contain a restriction or prohibition to practice the above teachings individually."

Case of Maslov in Minusinsk

Case History
On April 19, 2019, the Investigative Committee for the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Republic of Khakassia opened a criminal case against Dmitry Maslov from Minusinsk, accusing him of organizing extremist activities. The basis for the accusation was that the believer organized a hike in the mountains for his friends. Investigator Viktor Kolenichenko authorized and conducted searches of Dmitry himself and other Jehovah’s Witnesses from Minusinka. In December 2019, the criminal case was submitted to the Minusinsk City Court, it was considered by Judge Viktor Fomichev. During the trial, none of the interrogated witnesses confirmed Maslov’s guilt, however, in June 2021, the court imposed a fine of 450,000 rubles on the believer. In October of the same year, the appeal upheld the verdict, and in June 2022 it was finally approved by the Court of Cassation.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnoyarsk Territory
Suspected of:
[to be determined]
Court case number:
April 19, 2019
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
[to be determined]
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-14/2021 (1-122/2020; 1-824/2019)
Минусинский городской суд Красноярского края
Виктор Фомичев
Case History