Photo: Central District Court of Sochi. October 2019

Criminal Investigation and Trial

Two Sochi residents have been sent to jail for their faith until at least November 24, 2019

Krasnodar Territory

On October 11, 2019, the Central District Court of Sochi sent to the pre-trial detention center Nikolay Kuzichkin and Vyacheslav Popov, who had been detained the day before during a mass raid on believers. Nikolay Kuzichkin, 68, is the oldest of 40 Jehovah's Witnesses currently held in prison for their faith.

The decision to send his fellow countrymen to prison for their faith was made by 35-year-old judge Nikolai Shevelev, a native of the village of Krasnaya Polyana (Sochi). Dozens of their friends came to the court to support the believers.

Case of Kuzichkin and Popov in Sochi

Case History
In October 2019, special services conducted 36 raids in the Krasnodar Territory, during which Nikolay Kuzichkin and Vyacheslav Popov were detained. Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory accuses believers of convening and conducting worship services. Judge Nikolay Shevelev decided to detain both men for their convictions. Despite the rapidly deteriorating health, elderly Nikolay Kuzichkin was left in a pre-trial detention center, which was a serious threat to his life for six months. Vyacheslav’s large family was also going through difficult times when the head of the family was in custody and could not take care of his relatives. Judge of the Khostinsky District Court of Sochi, Yuriy Pilipenko, found the believers guilty of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and sentenced Nikolay to imprisonment for 1 year and 1 month, and Vyacheslav — 1 year and 10 months. Since the believers had already served these terms in a pre-trial detention center, they were released on December 18 and 29, 2020, respectively.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Krasnodar Territory
Suspected of:
по версии следствия, «предприняли действия организационного характера... выражающиеся в созыве, открытии и закрытии собраний, организации религиозных выступлений и богослужений на данных собраниях, координации хода встреч, предложений тем для обсуждения, осуществлении... проповеднической деятельности» (из постановления о возбуждении уголовного дела)
Court case number:
September 24, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
СУ СК РФ по Краснодарскому краю
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (1)
Court case number:
Хостинский районный суд г. Сочи
Case History