In the photo: Dmitry Vinogradov with his wife, May 2021

Unjust Verdicts

Dmitriy Vinogradov, one of Jehovah's Witnesses From Chelyabinsk, Got 2 Years Suspended for his faith

Chelyabinsk Region

On June 7, 2021, the judge of the Central District Court of the city of Chelyabinsk, Aleksandr Tabakov, sentenced Dmitriy Vinogradov, accused of extremism for his peaceful Christian faith, to two years suspended. The verdict has not entered into force and can be appealed.

Although there are no victims in the case, and the defendant has two minor children, the prosecutor asked the court to impose a sentence of 3 years of suspended sentence with a probation period of 4 years.

The persecution of Dmitry Vinogradov, master of the International Chess Federation, began on March 19, 2019 with a search in his apartment and at his workplace - in the chess club. As a result, he lost his own chess file, on which he worked for many years, as well as several students - after the incident, they stopped visiting his courses.

The case against Dmitriy Vinogradov was initiated on January 20, 2020. It was separated from the case of Valentina Suvorova, and it was investigated by the same investigator of the Department for Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the Chelyabinsk Region, Lieutenant Colonel of Justice Aleksandr Chepenko. For almost a year and a half, the believer has been under recognizance not to leave, although the investigation of the case took only a month and a half. On March 4, 2020, the case was submitted to the Central District Court of Chelyabinsk.

“As a result of a scrupulous trial, no one left in doubt that I was being persecuted solely for my Christian faith in Jehovah God,” Dmitriy said in his last speech.

In one of his appearances in court, the believer stated: “I have been studying the Bible for a long time and this does not make me any worse. On the contrary, this sacred book helped me at one time to break with bad habits. " Dmitriy drew attention to the fact that for his professional achievements he was repeatedly awarded with diplomas and certificates of honor of state bodies, including from the governor of the Chelyabinsk region, the mayor of Chelyabinsk and the minister of sports of the Russian Federation.

Another Chelyabinsk court, the Metallurgichesky District court, has already sentenced Valentina Suvorova, a labor veteran who has worked as a teacher for 30 years, to a suspended sentence for her faith. The same court is hearing a case against her husband, 75-year-old Vladimir Suvorov.

Russian security forces mistakenly interpret citizens' exercise of their constitutional rights as extremist activity. Numerous human rights organizations in Russia and beyond have repeatedly called for a halt to the wave of religious repression.

"All people, including Jehovah's Witnesses, should be able to peacefully exercise their rights, including the right to freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, and expression without discrimination, as guaranteed by the Russian Constitution and Russia's commitments to OSCE and international law," the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said on July 23, 2020.

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.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Chelyabinsk Region
Suspected of:
According to the investigation, he "took deliberate, active actions ... expressed in... conducting conversations, studying literature, watching educational videos.
Court case number:
January 20, 2020
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
СУ СК РФ по Челябинской области
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-26/2021 (1-264/2020)
Центральный районный суд г. Челябинска
Александр Табаков
Case History