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Criminal trial

A new criminal case for faith in Karelia. Mikhail Gordeev, 59, was detained at his workplace and placed on recognizance not to leave


On September 5, 2019, in Petrozavodsk (Karelia), FSB officers detained Mikhail Gordeev right at his workplace, suspecting him of professing the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses. The man was searched, his tablet was seized and taken to the FSB department for interrogation.

Investigator Grigoriev provided Mikhail with a free lawyer. The interrogation lasted four hours. A criminal case was opened against the believer under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of extremist activity). He is suspected of "continuing the activities of an extremist religious organization in the city of Petrozavodsk." He was placed under recognizance agreement.

Persecution of residents of Karelia on religious grounds began at the end of July 2019, when mass searches were carried out in the homes of believers in two cities of the region. The authorities opened criminal cases against Aleksey Smelov, Maksim Amosov and Nikolay Leshchenko. These civilians are grieving unfair criminal prosecution.

In May 2017, a family of Jehovah's Witnesses from Karelia was awarded the Order of Parental Glory. Exemplary parents received the award from the hands of the head of state Vladimir Putin.

The Case of Amosov and Others in Petrozavodsk

Case History
In July 2019, the FSB carried out mass searches in homes and workplaces of believers in Petrozavodsk. Several more searches took place in the neighboring city, Kondopoga. The couple, Maksim and Maria Amosov, were detained right on the street and Maria’s coat was torn. A criminal case was initiated against Maksim, in which 3 more defendants appeared later: Nikolay Leshchenko, Mikhail Gordeev and Dmitriy Ravnushkin. Gordeev and Ravnushkin were detained at their workplaces; after being interrogated by the FSB, the latter was fired from the post of chief power engineer. The believers were accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization and they were placed under a recognizance agreement. In October 2021, the case went to court. Some documents, dated 1990-2000, had nothing to do with the case. And the testimonies of witnesses for the prosecution were favorable toward the defendants. Despite this, in July 2023, the court fined the four believers: Maksim Amosov, Nikolay Leshchenko, and Dmitriy Ravnushkin, each the amount of 500,000 rubles, and Mikhail Gordeev, 450,000 rubles.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
According to the investigation they united in an organized group with the goal of organizing in the territory of the city of Petrozavodsk of the Republic of Karelia the activities of the local unit of the banned religious organization “Jehovah's Witnesses Administrative Center in Russia," including by organizing meetings and involving new members in its activities
Court case number:
July 22, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Russian Federal Security Office for the Republic of Karelia
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
№ 1-34/2023 (1-223/2022; 1-1110/2021)
Петрозаводский городской суд Республики Карелия
Степан Сергеев
Case History