Updated: April 19, 2024
Name: Kosteyev Sergey Vladimirovich
Date of Birth: May 9, 1960
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 927 day in a pre-trial detention
Current restrictions: Detention center
Sentence: punishment in the form of 7 years of imprisonment with serving a sentence in a general regime colony, with deprivation of the right to engage in organizational activities in public or religious associations, public or religious organizations for a term of 5 years, with restriction of liberty for a term of 1 year 2 months
Currently held in: Detention Centre No. 1 in Irkutsk Region
Address for correspondence: Kosteyev Sergey Vladimirovich, born 1960, Detention Centre No. 1 in Irkutsk Region, ul. Barrikad, 63, Irkutsk, Russia, 664019

Letters of support can be sent by regular mail or through the «FSIN-letter system». To pay for service with the card of a foreign bank use Prisonmail.

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


In the early October morning of 2021, special forces soldiers broke into the apartment of 61-year-old Sergey Kosteyev, breaking a window. After that security forces put him behind bars for his faith in Jehovah God. Stress contributed to the exacerbation of Sergey's hypertension, and he was admitted to a hospital cell for 20 days.

Sergey was born in May 1960 in the city of Korkino (Chelyabinsk region). His father died when Sergey was a teenager. Then, together with his mother, he moved to Irkutsk. He has a younger sister.

Sergey graduated from a vocational school as an electrician, but later changed his profession and has been working as a driver for about 30 years. His hobbies include fishing and photography.

In the early 1990s, Sergey's mother and sister met Jehovah's Witnesses and eventually embarked on the Christian path. The changes in the lives of family and friends sparked an interest in the Bible in Sergei as well. In 1996, he became one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Since 1994 Sergey has been divorced. He has two grown children and already four grandchildren. Although the children do not share his religious convictions, the criminal prosecution of his father caused a great shock to them, the elderly mother and other relatives. They all know Sergey as a peaceful and kind person who has not committed any crimes, and they consider the criminal prosecution to be complete absurdity.

Case History

In October 2021, a series of searches took place in Irkutsk and the Irkutsk region, which were accompanied by pogroms and brutal beatings of peaceful believers. It turned out that Yaroslav Kalin, Sergey Kosteev, Nikolay Martynov, Mikhail Moysh, Aleksey Solnechny, Andrey Tolmachev, and Sergey Vasilyev are suspected of extremism for practicing the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). After searches and interrogations, the security forces detained seven men, and soon six of them were sent to a pre-trial detention center, and one was placed under house arrest. After 2 months, law enforcement officers conducted two more searches: in the village of Askiz (Republic of Khakassia) in the home of Denis Sarazhakov and in the city of Mezhdurechensk (Kemerovo region) with Igor Popov. Both of them were arrested, taken more than 1500 km to Irkutsk and placed in custody. In December 2022, the case of the believers went to court. In January 2024, the court sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment in a penal colony, from 3 to 7 years, satisfying the prosecutor’s request.