Case of Vinogradov in Chelyabinsk

Case History

Master of the International Chess Federation Dmitry Vinogradov became a defendant in a criminal case in January 2020. Investigator of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Chepenko opened a case under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation as a result of a provocation by Chelyabinsk law enforcement agencies that sent agents to local believers to ask about the Bible. The security forces entered the Vinogradovs’ apartment and searched it in the absence of the owners. Also, a search took place at Dmitry’s workplace, as a result of which he lost his chess file, on which he worked for many years. During the hearings in the Central District Court of Chelyabinsk, the infiltrated agent “Makarenko” could not cite a single fact of illegal actions on the part of the believer. Nevertheless, in May 2021, Judge Aleksandr Tabakov sentenced Dmitry Vinogradov to 2 years probation. The appellate court upheld this decision, and in June 2022 it was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

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    February 18, 2019

    Senior investigator P. A. Madjar submits a report to the head of the Investigative Committee E. Y. Smirnykh on the discovery of "signs of a crime" by Dmitry Vinogradov. This comes about two and a half months after the embedded agent "Sergey Makarenko" questions Dmitriy about the teachings of the Bible.

    Prior to this, the surveillance of Chelyabinsk believers was carried out by "Lilia Ruzayeva", who introduced him as her brother.

    The investigator points out that "according to the results of the operational-search activity "Observation", P. N. Popov, V. A. Suvorova, V. N. Suvorov are members of the religious organization "Jehovah's Witnesses", whose activities are prohibited in Russia." The investigation calls the citizen's religion the activities of a legal entity - the Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. It is noteworthy that, according to Makarenko, Chelyabinsk Jehovah's Witnesses "did not force him to this faith, they did not ask for donations."

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    March 18, 2019

    Investigator Alexander Chepenko initiates criminal case No. 119027500300000002 on the grounds of a crime under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, against unidentified persons from among the residents of Chelyabinsk and the Chelyabinsk region who participated in religious meetings of believers.

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    March 19, 2019

    The Traktorozavodsky District Court of Chelyabinsk, at the request of investigator A. V. Chepenko, allows a search of Dmitry Vinogradov's home.

    The search takes place later without Vinogradov's participation: the security forces open the apartment, which was under an alarm system.

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    January 20, 2020

    Dmitry Vinogradov, 56, was charged under Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on the basis of his religion. A written undertaking not to leave was taken. His criminal case was separated from the case of Valentina Suvorova. It is being investigated by the investigator of the Department for the Investigation of Especially Important Cases, Lieutenant Colonel of Justice Alexander Viktorovich Chepenko.

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    March 4, 2020

    The case of Dmitry Vinogradov was transferred to the Central District Court of the city of Chelyabinsk for consideration by Judge Alexander Tabakov.

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    March 27, 2020

    The first court hearing is scheduled for April 8, 2020.

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    April 8, 2020

    The hearing was postponed to April 22, 2020.

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    June 2, 2020

    During the trial, the prosecutor read out the indictment. After hearing the accusation, Dmitry Vinogradov said that he did not understand what he was accused of.

    The next court hearing will be held on 23.06.2020. Prosecution witnesses are scheduled to be heard.

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    June 23, 2020 Hearing in a court of the first instance

    The judge rejects the defense's motions to admit the listeners to the courtroom.

    Interrogation of prosecution witness Lilia Ruzayeva. She talks about how she first showed an interest in the Bible and was then recruited by law enforcement and given the task of spying on believers. She has never seen Dmitry Vinogradov, she knows about him only from the words of Sergei Makarenko, another embedded agent. I also did not see other believers commit extremist actions or encourage anyone else to do so. Among themselves, believers discussed the Bible, "sang Bible songs."

    The next hearing is scheduled for August 14. The questioning of prosecution witnesses will continue.

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    February 8, 2021

    The defendant Vinogradov gives a detailed account of what Jehovah's Witnesses believe. A petition was also filed for an additional comprehensive examination of the only audio recording where his voice is present.

    Sergey Makarenko, an agent of the Center for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who imitated interest in the Bible in order to denounce believers, is being interrogated. He confirms that the defendant did not incite religious discord, did not undermine the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, did not encourage the severance of family relations and refusal of medical intervention, did not promote the activities of any organizations.

    Vinogradov once again emphasizes that it is not forbidden to practice the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. "I have my flaws, but I certainly can't be called an extremist," he says.- Biblical truth and the example of Jesus Christ help me not to become embittered even now in the current circumstances, when I am unreasonably persecuted and labeled as an extremist."

    The next hearing is scheduled for March 4, 2021 at 10:30 a.m.

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    March 4, 2021

    At the meeting, an audio recording of a Bible study on the topic "Who is God?" is listened to.

    The court rejects the request to include the Resolution of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

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    April 21, 2021

    The meeting is held in the presence of 6 listeners. The court rejects the request for additional comprehensive examination of the defendant's case.

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    May 12, 2021 Prosecutor requested punishment

    The debate of the parties begins. In addition to the participants in the process, 9 listeners are allowed to participate in the court.

    The prosecutor requests a sentence of 3 years of suspended imprisonment for Dmitry Vinogradov with a probationary period of 4 years. It takes into account the presence of minor children in the defendant and the positive characteristics of the case.

    The court granted the defense's motion to postpone the hearing to prepare a speech in the debate.

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    May 28, 2021 Final statement

    Referee: Aleksandr Tabakov. Central District Court of the city of Chelyabinsk (Chelyabinsk, Commune Street, 87). Courtroom 302.

    The court session is postponed due to the illness of the lawyer.

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    June 3, 2021
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    June 7, 2021 First Instance Sentence

    Judge of the Central District Court of the city of Chelyabinsk Alexander Tabakov announces the verdict to Dmitry Vinogradov. The believer was found guilty of violating Part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He is conditionally imprisoned for 2 years.

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    October 28, 2021 Court of Appeal

    The appeal upholds the verdict.

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    June 9, 2022 Court of Cassation

    The panel of judges of the Seventh Court of Cassation of General Jurisdiction (Chelyabinsk), chaired by Larisa Gagarina, approves the verdict and the appeal decision against Dmitry Vinogradov.

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    June 7, 2023

    Dmitry Vinogradov served the main sentence - a term of 2 years of suspended imprisonment.