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"I managed to tell my dad in his ear that I was proud of his resilience." The life of believers in Kaluga was divided into before and after

Kaluga Region

For almost six months, peaceful Kaluga residents have been languishing in a pre-trial detention center. How did the FSB act against obviously innocent people? What was thrown under the bed of 15-year-old Dasha Makhneva? How many masked armed security forces were thrown against 87-year-old Olga Verevkina? A 5-minute video about what is happening in Kaluga.

On June 26, 2019, mass searches were conducted in the homes of peaceful believers in Kaluga. Two Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Makhnev and Dmitry Kuzin, were arrested simply because of their religion.

Addressing via video link from the pre-trial detention center, Roman Makhnev says: "The court did not properly consider the measure of restraint against me. There was no evidence that I should have been detained."

His wife, Anna Makhneva, recalls: "I heard a noise in the street. When I came out, I saw two masked people in the courtyard of the house. I took the keys to the gate, opened the doors. A few more people were standing on the doorstep. My daughter came out, she was barefoot, and she was placed next to me on the paving slabs in the yard. It was drizzling. I asked permission to put on the child's shoes. He said, 'Later.'"

Anton Omelchenko, Roman Makhnev's lawyer: "The believer, Roman Makhnev, was handcuffed, despite the fact that he did not resist and did not show himself in any bad way."

At the same time, another group of security officials broke into the apartment of Dmitry and Svetlana Kuzin. Here is what Svetlana Kuzina had to experience: "I was in this room, at home, watering flowers. And I hear my husband open the door with his keys. And I go out, and then there are a lot of people. My husband was knocked down when he entered, apparently, he was knocked down on the tiles, face down. His hands were handcuffed from behind."

Another group of armed law enforcement officers invaded the home of 87-year-old Olga Verevkina. She says: "A full brigade in camouflage of militants. The ruling was not shown. They say, "Get up!" and I say, "I can't, I'm weak." My blood pressure rose from 200 to 115.

According to believers, during the searches publications from the Federal List of Extremist Materials were planted on them, and their rights were violated. Roman Makhnev's wife, Anna, says: "I heard Dasha screaming: 'This was not in my room, what is it doing here, explain to me!' And I heard her husband's voice saying, 'This is a toss.'" Daria Makhneva, the daughter of Roman and Anna, says: "Just that day in the afternoon I was vacuuming under the bed, there was nothing lying there."

"No one introduced themselves to us, they didn't show us any documents. The search began at 9 p.m. and lasted until about half past five in the morning," says Svetlana Kuzina.

Olga Verevkina: "To break into the camouflage of militants in such a way to old, infirm people - it amazes me!"

Anton Omelchenko: "If our law enforcement officers, in order to come to an elderly woman, gather a crowd, put on masks, take weapons with them, then what cowards they are! Such people say that they are actually fighting extremism."

After the searches, Roman Makhnev and Dmitry Kuzin were taken to the FSB building. "When my dad was taken away, the only thing I managed to say in his ear was that I was proud of his resilience," says Daria Makhneva, "And then he was taken away, and I felt sad. I was scared."

Anna Makhneva: "Roman, when he was brought to the FSB building, was handcuffed to a battery in some utility room, and remained so until the morning, until he was summoned for interrogation."

It is worth noting that a few hours earlier, during the searches, an ambulance was called for Roman Makhnev. "Roman became very ill," says his wife.- Dasha began to scream. An ambulance was called by FSB officers, she arrived quickly enough. They gave him medicine, after a while Roman felt better. He was detained on the 26th, he was fed only on the 29th!

Anton Omelchenko: "Roman Makhnev was not fed for three days. They said, "Well, he had the opportunity to eat what he brought with him." Interesting position. I have filed complaints with various departments."

On June 28, two days after the arrest, the Kaluga District Court sent Roman Makhnev and Dmitry Kuzin to a pre-trial detention center.

Roman Makhnev: "I have never called for religious discord. Always, on the contrary, encouraged love and good deeds. But now we will continue to fight, we will file a cassation appeal." His daughter, Daria, says: "I hope that people will understand that my dad is not guilty of anything, and he is not a criminal. Therefore, I hope that soon we will meet with him and be together again.

Believers do not agree with the accusations and intend to seek justice.

Svetlana Kuzina: "I don't know if we can. But I am determined to fight to the end in order to help my husband, to support him." Anna Makhneva: "I very much hope that common sense will prevail, and the people in power will finally understand that we do not pose any threat to society and even more so to the state."

Case of Makhnev and Kuzin in Kaluga


Persons in case

Criminal case

Kaluga Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation they took active organizational measures, expressed in the unification of followers of the world organization of Jehovah's Witnesses living in the city of Kaluga and the Kaluga Region, under one leadership; convening meetings in living quarters located in the territory of the city of Kaluga and the Kaluga region; organizing religious performances and services at these meetings; carrying out preaching activity
Court case number:
June 26, 2019
Current case stage:
review of case materials by the accused
Investigation Department of FSSD of Russia for Kaluga Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Case History