Two Church Volunteers in Russia to Be Deported

Contributed By Aubrey Eyre, Church News staff writer

  • 8 March 2019

Map of Novorossiysk, Russia. Courtesy of Google Maps.

After being arrested and detained for a week by local authorities in Russia, two young Latter-day Saint volunteers will be deported following a decision from Novorossiysk’s Primorsky District Court, which found the two volunteers guilty of violating Russia’s enter and exit rules on March 2.

Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “Many people have reached out regarding the status of our two volunteers in Russia. At this time, they remain in custody while their deportation is being processed. The young men are in good spirits, are being treated well, and are in regular contact with their mission president and their families,” the Deseret News reported.

Hawkins noted that the Church is working with Russian authorities, and they are hopeful the volunteers will be allowed to leave the country soon.

The volunteers were arrested on March 1 during a meeting at a Church meetinghouse in Novorissiysk.

According to their attorney, Sergei Glizuntsa, as reported by Tass—Russia’s state-run news agency—the two young volunteers have no complaints about the conditions of their detention.

Following the arrest, the president of the Russia Rostov-na-Donu Mission—where the two are assigned—traveled to Novorossiysk to visit the volunteers on Monday, March 4, and they were able to call home.

Following their detention, a Deseret News reporter spoke with the father of one of the volunteers and he reported that the two young men are doing well.

Since 2016, when Russia implemented an anti-terrorism law, Church missionaries in the country have been redesignated as volunteers and all proselytizing can only occur in houses of worship.

Read the full update by the Deseret News here.