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Regional police and Federal Security Service (FSB) officers raiding the home of one of our brothers in Nizhny Novgorod in 2019

JULY 15, 2020

Russian Authorities Conduct Largest Series of Home Raids on Our Brothers

Russian Authorities Conduct Largest Series of Home Raids on Our Brothers

Officers armed with assault rifles reportedly raided 110 homes of our brothers in the Voronezh Region on July 13, 2020, according to an official press release. This is the largest number of raids conducted in a single day on Jehovah’s Witnesses since 2017. Two brothers, Aleksandr Bokov and Dmitrii Katyrov, were beaten and humiliated for refusing to give the officers the passwords to their mobile phones.

The Leninsky District Court of Voronezh ordered the mass raids. The officers raided homes in at least seven cities, towns, and villages in the region. Several of our brothers were taken to the local Investigative Committee office for interrogation.

On the following day, July 14, 2020, the Leninsky District Court ordered ten brothers to be kept in pretrial detention until September 3, 2020: 44-year-old Aleksei Antiukhin, 47-year-old Sergey Bayev, 44-year-old Iurii Galka, 56-year-old Valeriy Gurskiy, 41-year-old Vitalii Nerush, 24-year-old Stepan Pankratov, 54-year-old Igor Popov, 44-year-old Evgenii Sokolov, 51-year-old Mikhail Veselov, and 51-year-old Anatoliy Yagupov.

Although the above-mentioned report stated 110 homes were raided, so far we have confirmation from 100 Witness families that their homes and other properties were searched. This number may increase. It is a challenge to contact all the brothers involved because their phones and computers were confiscated during the raids.

The previous record for the largest number of searches in one day was on February 10, 2020, when the authorities raided 50 Witness homes in the Transbaikal Territory. Since the 2017 Supreme Court ruling, over 1,000 homes of our brothers have been raided.

In light of Bible prophecy, we are not surprised by the fiery trials our brothers in Russia and other lands are experiencing. We continue to pray for our brothers, knowing that Jehovah will give them the needed holy spirit to remain faithful.—1 Peter 4:12-14, 19.