Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

The 55th Region of Russia Is Joining the Religious Persecution. The Houses of Jehovah's Witnesses Are Being Searched in the City of Astrakhan

Astrakhan Region

Since the morning of June 9, 2020, believers in Astrakhan have reported on raids on their homes by law enforcement officers. It is already known about searches in at least two families. This news is being updated.

Update. Four believers were detained for 48 hours: marriage couple Evgeniy and Olga Ivanov (43 and 37 years), as well as Rustam Diarov, 46, and Sergey Klikunov, 45. In total, at least 19 families of local believers were searched. After the searches the investigators arranged for interrogations, including elderly people with disabilities. A single mother was threatened with being deprived of her parental rights.

The total number of searches in homes of believers in the country has already exceeded 900. The large-scale religious persecution in Russia began after a miscarriage of justice - the decision of the Supreme Court to liquidate and ban all 396 Jehovah's Witnesses organizations in Russia. Law enforcers issue a joint confession of these law-abiding citizens "for participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Law scholars and human rights activists both in Russia and abroad unanimously condemn the actions of the authorities towards Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

The Case of Ivanov and Others in Astrakhan

Case History
In June 2020, the investigation in Astrakhan initiated a criminal case against Sergey Klikunov, Rustam Diarov, Yevgeniy Ivanov and his wife, Olga, under an article for extremism. A series of searches took place the next day. After that, the four believers were placed in custody. Three days later, Olga Ivanova was placed under house arrest. From June 2021, the case against the believers was heard in court. The court sentenced Yevgeniy, Sergey and Rustam to 8 years in a penal colony, and Olga to 3.5 years imprisonment. The court of appeal upheld this decision in February 2022, and 10 months later, the court of cassation even toughened the punishment, banning the believers from leaving Astrakhan after serving their sentence. In June 2024, Olga Ivanova was released.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Astrakhan Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "they continued to organize meetings, knowingly knowing that its activities were banned ... They carried out propaganda of the superiority of religious teachings over other persons and were engaged in the distribution of extremist literature."
Court case number:
June 8, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Astrakhan Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1), 282.3 (1), 282.2 (2)
Court case number:
Трусовский районный суд г. Астрахани
Алексей Сёмин
Case History