Illustrative photo

Actions of Law Enforcement Officers

Three Believers Detained After Searches in the Astrakhan Region

Astrakhan Region

On November 9, 2021, searches of believers were carried out in Akhtubinsk and Znamensk. Dozens of people were detained for interrogation. Three men were sent to a temporary detention facility: 48-year-old Sergey Korolev, 60-year-old Sergey Kosyanenko and 34-year-old Rinat Kiramov.

The raids and interrogations began at about 6 am. In at least one of the cases - during a search at Rinat Kiramov's house - the security forces broke down the front doors of the believers' dwelling. Details are being clarified.

Update. On November 10 and 11, 2021, the Akhtubinsky District Court imprisoned Sergey Korolev, Sergey Kosyanenko and Rinat Kiramov for 2 months.

New searches and arrests in the region came shortly after the court handed down one of the harshest sentences since the ban on legal entities of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. On October 25, 2021, Rustam Diarov, Sergey Klikunov and Yevgeniy Ivanov were sentenced to 8 years, and Yevgeniy's wife, Olga, to 3.5 years in a general regime colony.

The case of Korolev and Others in Akhtubinsk

Case History
On the morning of November 2021, searches and interrogations of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place in Akhtubinsk and Znamensk (Astrakhan Region). Some of them had previously been under surveillance. Law enforcement broke down doors, damaged property and forced both men and women to the floor. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Sergey Korolev, Rinat Kiramov and Sergey Kosyanenko, considering peaceful religious services as extremist activity. The believers were placed in a temporary detention facility and then in a pre-trial detention, where they spent over 1.5 years. In October 2022, the case went to court. Some prosecution witnesses, including the classified one, partially or completely renounced their preliminary testimony. In April 2023, the court sentenced Korolev, Kiramov and Kosyanenko to 7 years of imprisonment. Four months later, a court of appeal upheld the believers’ sentence. The сourt of сassation upheld this decision.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Astrakhan Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, "organized meetings ... including the use of video conferencing ... namely, in the form of collective religious worship consisting of the public reproduction of audio and video recordings... sequential singing of songs from a special collection of religious teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses and prayers to Jehovah God."
Court case number:
November 9, 2021
Current case stage:
The verdict entered into force
Akhtubinsk Interdistrict Investigation Department of the 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)
Court case number:
1-9/2023 (1–342/2022)
Court of First Instance:
Ахтубинский районный суд Астраханской области
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Анатолий Проскурин
Case History