Updated: April 19, 2024
Name: Tolmachev Andrey Vladimirovich
Date of Birth: March 3, 1975
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: Tolmachev Andrey Vladimirovich, born 1975, 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 October 2021, Andrey Tolmachev faced criminal prosecution for believing in God. He is the only son of retired parents who were left without his help — everything in the house was on Andrey’s shoulders. During the search, the believer was beaten in front of his parents until he lost consciousness, and then he was detained and placed in a pre-trial detention center.

Andrey was born in 1975. He grew up as an athletic child, was engaged in boxing, weightlifting. Received the profession of a general driver.

At the age of 27, Andrew became acquainted with Bible teachings. Thanks to this, he got rid of bad habits and stopped engaging in aggressive sports.

Before his arrest, Andrey worked in the field of cargo transportation. Colleagues and friends speak of him as a fair and compassionate person who is always ready to help. “Andrey is sociable and knows how to find a common language with different people,”— they say.

Andrey's neighbors know him as a believer and a loving son who takes care of his disabled father. They do not understand why he was thrown into jail. Andrey's parents, although they do not share the religious beliefs of their son, are proud of him and wait for justice to prevail.

The criminal prosecution did not break Andrey — even with a chronic illness, he does not lose heart and maintains a positive attitude.

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.