Updated: April 25, 2024
Name: Popov Pavel Nikolayevich
Date of Birth: March 4, 1977
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Current restrictions: Suspended sentence
Sentence: punishment in the form of 6 years of imprisonment with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to leadership and participation in the work of religious organizations for a term of 6 years with restriction of liberty for a term of 1 year, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be considered conditional with a probationary period of 4 years


Pavel Popov from the Chelyabinsk region grew up in a dysfunctional family and was a difficult teenager. With the help of the Bible, he managed to radically change his life. Today, this decent man is accused of extremism because of his faith in Jehovah God.

Pavel was born in March 1977 in Novokuznetsk (Kemerovo region). The family had five children. The parents are no longer alive. Father died when Pavel was 15 years old.

The boy found it difficult to study at school, in the first grade he began to smoke, and in the fifth grade he became addicted to alcohol. Pavel was registered in the children's room of the police for frequent fights and theft. He shares: "In the yard they knew me as a bully for whom the prison is waiting."

After graduating from college, Pavel got the profession of a car mechanic of the 4th grade, and later learned to be a gas electric welder of the 5th grade. He worked at a factory, as a janitor in a kindergarten, as a loader at a bakery, as a welder. Since 2005 he has been working in the construction industry.

In his youth, Pavel learned that the Bible contains answers to his questions: why is there so much evil in the world, and what is the meaning of life? He recalls: "I was fascinated that the Bible openly discusses scientific facts about the shape of the earth, medical views, quarantine, and the internal consistency of the Bible and fulfilled prophecies."

Pavel liked that Jehovah's Witnesses, who introduced him to Bible truths, lived by high moral standards. After the second meeting with them, the young man quit smoking, and six months later, at the age of 18, he embarked on the Christian path.

The knowledge gained from the Bible did not allow the young man to take up arms. “10 times I was in the military registration and enlistment office and each time I wrote a statement about alternative service, but since it was not in the country, I was again drafted into the army, and again I had to go through a commission,” Pavel recalls.

Pavel met his future wife Yelena in 1995. She shared his views on life. In the Bible, Yelena was attracted by the fact that God has a wonderful plan for obedient people: to give them eternal life in paradise on earth. In 2003, young people got married. Together they moved to the village of Krasnogorsk (Chelyabinsk region), and since 2007 the couple have been living in the city of Yemanzhelinsk. Yelena is very fond of reading, singing and dancing, and together with her husband she likes to go to the forest for mushrooms and berries. A schoolgirl daughter is growing up in the family.

During the first search in 2019, family albums with photographs and videos were taken from the Popovs. “For several weeks we were under stress and, seeing any police officer, we were alarmed,” the spouses say. The criminal prosecution also affected Pavel's work — the contractor refused to pay for his work at three sites in connection with the summons to interrogation to the investigator Chepenko. Pavel lost a significant income. Relatives and acquaintances of the Popovs, including those who do not share the religious beliefs of the spouses, wonder why they are persecuting this law-abiding person.

Case History

The security forces searched the apartment of Pavel Popov and his wife in the presence of their young daughter twice - in 2019 and 2021. A peaceful believer from Yemanzhelinsk was brought in as a witness in the case of Valentina Suvorova from Chelyabinsk, and in April 2021, investigator of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Chepenko opened a criminal case against him. He considered preaching, singing religious songs and prayers to be organizing the activities of an extremist organization. In November 2021, the case went to court. During the hearings, it became obvious that the testimony of prosecution witnesses was falsified, and the prosecution had no evidence. Despite this, the prosecutor asked the court to sentence the believer to 8 years in prison. In May 2022, the believer was found guilty and sentenced to 6 years probation with a probation period of 4 years. The appeal and cassation upheld the verdict.