Updated: June 14, 2024
Name: Shchannikov Viktor Nikolayevich
Date of Birth: April 8, 1961
Current status: defendant
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Current restrictions: recognizance agreement


Bible study helped Viktor Shchannikov from Pechora to abandon his asocial lifestyle and become a good citizen. Although he has been a peaceful Christian for 30 years, a criminal case was initiated against him under the "extremist" article in the fall of 2020.

Viktor was born in April 1961 in the village of Beryozovka, 30 kilometers from the city of Pechora (Komi Republic). Father and mother worked at the sawmill all their life. Viktor has a younger brother. As a child Viktor liked to draw and sculpt from plasticine. After school he acquired a driving specialty in Ukhta school, which was about 300 kilometers away from his house. After studying, Viktor got a job as a mechanic driver in Pechora. Since then, he has lived and worked in this cold northern city, and has recently been working as a grader driver (a self-propelled ground leveling machine).

Since childhood, mother taught her sons not to fight, not to steal, not to swear. However, in his youth, Viktor got involved into a bad company and became addicted to alcohol. Since childhood, he was outraged by the injustice that prevailed around him. Communication with Jehovah's Witnesses encouraged him to start exploring the Bible. From it he learned that God would restore justice on earth. Over time, Viktor realized that he himself needed to change in order to live happily. Application of principles from the Holy Scriptures helped him to become a different person: he broke all ties with his former friends, completely changed his lifestyle and became a Christian in 1990.

In 2003, Viktor married Viktoriya. She loves sewing and cooking. Viktor has been playing hockey since childhood. Together they go hiking, skating and swimming. The spouses have a 15-year-old son with disabilities.

The searches seriously affected the whole family, especially the health of Viktor's son and 83-year-old mother, who has a heart condition. "At work, everyone wonders why I am persecuted. They say that I was a normal person, and now they have sharply made me a criminal," says the believer.

Case History

In January 2020, security forces searched 12 houses in Pechora. Several people were detained. Among them are Gennadiy Polyakevich and Gennadiy Skutelets. On the same day, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case on extremism against Polyakevich and Skutelets. The court sent Polyakevich to a pre-trial detention center, where he spent 301 days, and placed Skutelets under house arrest for 364 days. In November 2020, another investigator of the Investigative Committee opened a new criminal case against Nikolay Anufriyev, Eduard Merinkov, Viktor Shchannikov, Aleksandr Vorontsov, and Aleksandr Prilepskiy. They were put on recognizance not to leave. The case went to court in May 2021, and eight months later it was returned to the prosecutor. In December 2022, at the age of 58, Aleksandr Prilepskiy died from the effects of COVID-19. In April 2023, the case went to court again.