Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

In the Nizhny Novgorod Region, Searches Were Carried Out at the Homes of Believers. One of Them Ended up in Hospital

Nizhegorod Region

On February 6, 2024, at least 7 addresses of Jehovah's Witnesses and their relatives were searched in the cities of Shakhunya and Gorodets, and the village of Vakhtan (Nizhny Novgorod Region). Those affected included elderly and families with children. Some were interrogated and later released.

The searches began around 6 a.m. and lasted between 2 and 5 hours. They were conducted by law enforcement officers — local and from Nizhny Novgorod. They seized electronic devices, personal notes, data storage and Bibles. In most cases, the law enforcement officers behaved properly. One of the believers, an elderly man, repeatedly lost consciousness during the search; an ambulance was called for him twice and eventually he was taken to the hospital, from where he was discharged later.

The interrogations of the believers were led by T.A. Smirnova, senior investigator of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the city of Shakhunya.

This is not the first wave of prosecutions of believers in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. Already 13 Jehovah's Witnesses in the region have been sentenced for practicing their religion.

The Case of Serdtseva and Smirnova in Shakhunya

Case History
In February 2024, the Ministry of Internal Affairs initiated a criminal case against unidentified persons for participating in the activity of an extremist organization. At the time, searches were carried out at 7 addresses in the cities of Shakhunya and Gorodets and the village of Vakhtan. Nina Smirnova and Larisa Serdtseva became suspects.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Nizhegorod Region
Court case number:
February 6, 2024
Current case stage:
preliminary investigation
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Case History