Jehovah’s Witnesses flee Russia for Finland
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Jehovah’s Witnesses flee Russia

Sergei Kotelnikova, second from left, is shown with his wife, Anya, and their daughter, Emily, at a refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland. The family fled Russia, as did Alin Tovmasian, right, after Jehovah’s Witnesses were labeled extremists there and their faith was banned. At left is Harri Ikonen, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community in Konnunsuo.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Daniel, left, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of his family’s safety, lives in the same cottage in a refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland, as Alin Tovmasian, right. They are both Jehovah’s Witnesses who fled Russia because of religious persecution.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Jehovah’s Witnesses Anya Kotelnikova, 28, shown with her husband, Sergei Kotelnikov, 31, and their daughter, Emily, chat with friends in a cottage at a refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland. Anya was pregnant when they fled northern Russia 18 months ago.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Harri Ikonen, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community in Konnunsuo, Finland, has been helping Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses seeking asylum in his country. He regularly drives the asylum-seekers to a nearby Kingdom Hall worship center.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

The Tovmasian family — from left, David, 10, Yulia, 37, and Alin, 35 — arrived in Finland a year ago from a small city in Russia’s North Caucasus region. “The main thing is that we are safe here,” Alin Tovmasian said.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Times)

A number of Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses seeking asylum live in cottages at a refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland. The cottages once housed workers from a nearby prison.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Alin Tovmasian, left, talks to his cottage mate, Daniel, who asked that his last name not be used for safety reasons. The two men and their wives, all Jehovah Wittnesses, share a cottage at the refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Shown is a room in a cottage at the refugee center in Konnunsuo, Finland.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Alin Tovmasian, 35, is among the roughly 250 Russian Jehovah’s Witnesses seeking asylum in Finland. 

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)

Shown is the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Lappenranta, Finland. Local members of the faith worship at the hall with Russian refugees fleeing religious persecution.

 (Vasiliy Kolotilov / For the Los Angeles Times)
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