Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In the Primorye Territory, New Searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Preliminary Data, One Person Is Detained

Primorye Territory

On May 12, 2020, at least three homes of local Jehovah's Witnesses were searched in the town of Lesozavodsk. Sergey Kobelev, 44, was detained. Details are being clarified.

[i18n] Clarification. On May 16, 2020, it became known that Sergey Kobelev, who was detained at his workplace, was released on the same day after a search in his house and interrogation in the investigator’s office; The detention lasted 11 hours. However, 49-year-old Yevgeny Grinenko was sent to a pre-trial detention center after his arrest: a criminal case was initiated against him under Part 1 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. Searches were carried out in at least 4 families of believers. Religious persecution in the city is carried out by officers of the Border Department of the Federal Security Service of Russia in the Primorsky Territory.

The city of Lesozavodsk with a population of 35,000 people is located 350 kilometers north of Vladivostok. Earlier in Primorye Krai, at least 11 criminal cases for faith had already been initiated against 18 local Jehovah's Witnesses. Cases were initiated in Vladivostok, Luchegorsk, Partizansk, Razdolny, Spassk-Dalny and Ussuriysk.

Such a serious violation of the rights of believers is a direct consequence of a terrible miscarriage of justice - the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to indiscriminately liquidate and ban all 396 organizations of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. Law enforcement officers, driven by unknown motives, pass off the joint religion of law-abiding citizens for participation in the activities of an extremist organization. The problem was highlighted by the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, the President of the Russian Federation, prominent public figures of Russia, 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. 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."

The case of Grinenko and Others in Lesozavodsk

Case history
In May 2020, the investigation initiated a criminal case against Yevgeniy Grinenko, a resident of Lesozavodsk. He was accused of organizing the activity of an extremist community. On the same day, the homes of Yevgeniy and three other families were searched, and the believer himself was arrested. Two days later, he was placed in a detention center, where he spent almost 2 months, and then he was transferred to house arrest. Later, new defendants appeared in the case: Svetlana Yefremova, Sergey Kobelev and his mother Galina, whose case was later made into a separate proceeding. In September 2021, the case of Grinenko and the other believers went to court. The case was based on the testimony of an undercover FSB agent, Vladislav Mrachko, who secretly recorded his conversations about the Bible with the believers. In February 2023, the court concluded that the believers were guilty and gave Grinenko and Kobelev a 6-year suspended sentence and Svetlana Yefremova a 3-year suspended sentence. The court of appeal upheld the verdict.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Primorye Territory
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "assisted E. A. Grinenko in organizing meetings of the LRO of Jehovah's Witnesses in Lesozavodsk, acted as a coordinator."
Court case number:
May 12, 2020
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Forestry Directorate for Lesozavodsk of the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Primorsky Territory
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-35/2022 (1-316/2021)
Court of First Instance:
Лесозаводский районный суд Приморского края
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Сергей Яровенко