Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In Udmurtia, security forces invaded the homes and workplaces of believers. There are detainees


Text updated on January 26, 2021.

On January 21, 2021, law enforcement officers conducted searches in seven homes and workplaces of Votkinsk-based Jehovah's Witnesses. Mikhail Potapov, 42, was taken to Izhevsk detention center #1 and Sergey Gobozev, 63, due to poor health, was placed under house arrest and banned from using a telephone and the Internet.

Criminal cases were initiated against the believers based on Part 1, Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code (organization of extremist activity). During the searches, electronic devices, postcards, photo albums, and Bibles were seized from the believers. Eyewitnesses reported that law enforcement officers planted publications that are included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

The Case of Gobozev and Potapov in Votkinsk

Case History
Pensioner and veteran of labor Sergey Gobozev and repair technician Mikhail Potapov from Votkinsk were detained in January 2021. The Investigative Committee charged them with organizing the activity of an extremist organization only because the men gathered with friends to discuss the Bible. As a result, Potapov spent 4 months in pre-trial detention and Gobozev – under house arrest. Both were then banned from certain activities. In September 2021, the case went to court. During the hearings, it became known that prosecution witnesses had been pressured and their testimonies falsified. In March 2024, the prosecutor requested 6.5 years imprisonment for the believers, but the court imposed fines on both: 450,000 rubles for Gobozev and 400,000 for Potapov. The appeal court left the ruling in force.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
"in the course of illegal religious meetings organized and directed by Gobozev and Potapov, articles from the book 'Holy Scripture - New World Translation' were studied" (from the decision to prosecute as an accused)
Court case number:
January 20, 2021
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Udmurt Republic
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-6/2024 (1-9/2023; 1-25/2022; 1-542/2021)
Воткинский районный суд Удмуртской Республики
Тамара Макарова
Case History