Dmitry Vinogradov

Unjust Verdicts

Chelyabinsk Regional Court Upheld the Conviction of Jehovah's Witness Dmitriy Vinogradov for Faith

Chelyabinsk Region

On October 28, 2021, the Chelyabinsk Regional Court did not satisfy the appeal of the 58-year-old Master of the International Chess Federation Dmitriy Vinogradov. The verdict of first instance came into force: 2 years of suspended sentence for faith in God.

Addressing the court of appeal, Vinogradov stressed: "My service to Jehovah God is not a crime, I am happy and proud of this fact." The believer has the right to file a cassation appeal, as well as appeal to international authorities.

The search in the home of the Vinogradov family took place in the absence of the owners: the security forces opened the apartment, which was under an alarm system. Law enforcers also searched his workplace — they seized the chess file that Dmitriy had developed over the years. The management of the institution where Dmitriy worked as a mentor for young chess players, having learned about the criminal case, dismissed him.

Dmitriy Vinogradov spent more than 20 months under recognizance agreement. Almost all this time, his accounts were blocked, he and his wife feared that their housing would be confiscated for non-payment: “Our apartment was removed from the utility bills payment system. We couldn't even pay our bills.”

The trial lasted more than 1.5 years. After the hearings, each of which was stressful for Dmitriy, he was sick for several days. As a result, his blood pressure began to spike and his eyesight deteriorated.

The prosecutor knew that the defendant is raising two minor children and has positive characteristics. The line of accusation in his case was based on the testimony of the agent of the Center for Countering Extremism "Sergey Makarenko," as well as "Liliya Ruzayeva" recruited by law enforcement officers to spy on believers. However, according to them, Vinogradov did not incite religious discord, did not undermine the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation, did not encourage the breakdown of family relations and refusal of medical intervention, did not promote the activities of any organizations.

Speaking at one of the court hearings, Dmitriy drew attention to the fact that the very concept of 'extremism' contradicts the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses: side from violence and crime. They did not tarnish themselves by participating in such cases, even if they themselves became victims." He added: "My father was a participant in World War II, and maybe I was born only because some German Jehovah's Witness refused to take a Schmeisser in his hands and go kill Russians on the Eastern Front."

Nevertheless, on June 7, 2021, the Central District Court of Chelyabinsk found Dmitriy Vinogradov guilty of participating in the activities of an extremist organization because of peaceful talks about the Bible. Thanks to letters and postcards with words of support in dozens of languages ​​from different parts of the world, Dmitriy tries to remain calm in all his difficulties.

In addition to Vinogradov, in Chelyabinsk, 75-year-old Vladimir Suvorov received 6 years of suspended sentence, and his 73-year-old wife Valentina — 2 years.

Despite their peaceful activities, hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia have already been subjected to repression, although Russian authorities have repeatedly stated that believers can continue to practice their religion freely. The world community and human rights organizations express strong concerns about systematic violations of the freedoms and rights of religious minorities, in particular Jehovah's Witnesses.

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