In August 2020, in the city of Zverevo, security forces detained and sent to a pre-trial detention center the father of three children, Vladimir Popov. In September 2022, the court sentenced him to 7 years in prison just because of his faith.
Vladimir was born in 1967 in the town of Shakhty, Rostov Region. His father worked as a miner, and his mother worked as a salesman, bath attendant, and laundress. Vladimir has a younger sister. He lived in different settlements of the Rostov region: Gukovo, Zverevo, Dubovskшy district.
As a child, Vladimir was fond of designing, he made toy clockwork cars, and in his school years he assembled a bicycle and a moped. In high school, he attended a radio club.
After graduating from the courses of an electric and gas welder, Vladimir worked in the housing office. In the mid-1990s, he took up entrepreneurial activities—he opened a car repair shop and worked in this area before being taken into custody. Before the criminal prosecution, Vladimir was engaged in beekeeping, owned an apiary. He loves to have fun with friends and family.
Vladimir met his future wife back in school, and in 1985 they got married. By education, Irina is a seamstress, but after the birth of her children she was engaged in their upbringing and household management. In her spare time, she knits and learns English.
Vladimir and Irina began studying the Bible in the mid-1980s and embarked on the Christian path together in the summer of 1985. Vladimir was worried about the injustice in the world, and he was especially touched by the promise of God to solve this problem. Irina, who had previously been a convinced atheist, was impressed by the logical biblical explanations about the origin of life and the existence of the Creator. The couple instilled biblical values in their children: sons Mikhail and Dmitriy and daughter Mariya. Michael, in turn, brings up his two sons according to Christian standards.
Once behind bars, Vladimir lost his business and clients, the bee apiary was left unattended, and his wife, who has been caring for her paralyzed mother (disabled group I) since 2003, was left without collateral. Due to stress, Irina partially lost her sight, which required expensive treatment.
Vladimir's neighbors and relatives, who do not share his convictions, cannot believe that such persecution for their faith is possible in our time.