Updated: June 24, 2024
Name: Dolganov Aleksandr Mikhailovich
Date of Birth: November 19, 1988
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility, 77 day in a pre-trial detention, 85 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: detention center
Sentence: punishment in the form of 3 years of imprisonment with serving in a penal colony of general regime, with restriction of liberty for a period of 10 months, with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to participation in the work of religious organizations for a term of 2 years
Currently held in: Detention Center No. 4 in Samara Region
Address for correspondence: Dolganov Aleksandr Mikhailovich, born 1988, SIZO No. 4 in Samara Region, sh. Khryashchevskoe, vld. 3, g. Tolyatti, Samara Region, Russia, 445043

Letters of support can be sent by regular mail or through the «zonatelecom».

Note: discussing topics related to criminal prosecution is not allowed in letters; languages other than Russian will not pass.

Biography

Due to criminal prosecution for his faith, Aleksandr Dolganov lost his job—the court forbade him to use the Internet. His wife was forced to take care of the maintenance of the family.

Aleksandr was born in November 1988 in Toliyatti. He has a sister. Their parents are retired, but the father is still working.

After school, Aleksandr studied at two technical schools as an electrician. Then he got a job in his specialty, and later as a locksmith. Since April 2023, he has worked as a call center operator.

In 2017, Aleksandr moved to Samara, where he met his future wife Mariya. About a year later, the young family returned to Toglyatti. Mariya works as a support operator in a grocery delivery service. She has been familiar with the Bible since childhood—her mother instilled in her a love for God. Over time, she became convinced that the Bible's advice was good for her.

Aleksandr, too, believed in God from a young age and loved to read Bible literature. "Although I didn't understand much at the time, I hoped that God would be pleased with my attitude towards him," he recalls. In 1998, his mother met Jehovah's Witnesses and began to study the Bible. When Aleksandr read Bible stories for children, he was so impressed that he wanted to attend religious meetings with his mother. Aleksandr's mother was the first to take the Christian path, then he himself and then his sister.

To this day, as in childhood, Aleksandr is fond of chess and radio electronics. Mariya loves pets. She also enjoys playing board games.

"House arrest has made its own adjustments to our lives. Due to the ban on leaving the apartment, using a mobile phone, the Internet, mail, I lost the opportunity to provide for my family, so it was a burden on my wife. Also, to control my movement, I was put on a tracking bracelet, which had a short radius of action and deprived me of the opportunity to use the entire apartment, "said Aleksandr.

Relatives, neighbors and former colleagues are outraged that Aleksandr was unreasonably labeled an extremist and worry about the outcome of the trial: "Aleksandr is a peaceful, calm, cheerful person. Why is he being persecuted?"

Case History

In May 2023, in Tolyatti, officers of the Investigative Committee and the FSB broke into and searched the homes of four families of believers. A criminal case was initiated against Aleksandr Dolganov for his faith. After interrogation, he was placed under house arrest for 85 days, and then he was banned from certain actions. In July 2023, the case went to court. The charges were based on the testimony of two witnesses who cooperated with the investigation. One of them, who secretly filmed the meetings for worship, does not know the defendant personally, but has a negative attitude toward Jehovah’s Witnesses. Also during the trial, it turned out that the specialists who conducted the psycho-religious expert study did not have the necessary qualifications. In April 2024, the court sentenced Aleksandr to 3 years imprisonment. He was taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in a detention center.