Updated: May 27, 2024
Name: Usanov Yuriy Aleksandrovich
Date of Birth: August 17, 1991
Current status: who has served the main sentence
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 866 day in a pre-trial detention
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 3 years with restriction of liberty for 6 months, release from punishment in the form of imprisonment in connection with the actual service


In July 2021, Yuriy Usanov planned to start a family with his bride Irina. However, the plans of the young couple collapsed overnight, as Yuri ended up in jail for believing in God. In September 2021, the believer registered his marriage right there. The administration of the pre-trial detention center gave the newlyweds 5 minutes to communicate after the registration of the marriage, after which Yuriy's wife, Irina, did not receive visits with her husband for about a year. In August 2023, the believer was released.

Yuri was born in August 1991 in the small village of Gorno-Chuisky, Irkutsk region. At the age of one, he moved with his parents to the city of Bratsk. Yuriy has two brothers and a sister. Parents, already retired, still work: his father is a foundry worker at an aluminum plant, and his mother is a therapist in a district clinic.

As a child, the boy was fond of floristry, robotics, playing the guitar. After school at a vocational lyceum, he received a specialty as an electrician and welder. For some time he worked in his specialty, and later participated in construction projects.

As in his childhood, Yuri loves to play the guitar, and he also enjoys skiing and traveling.

In the mid-1990s, Yuriy's mother began studying the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. From an early age, the boy shared his mother's craving for the spiritual; according to his memoirs, even then he had faith in God. At a young age, he made the decision to embark on the Christian path.

Yuriy applied for the replacement of military service with an alternative civilian service on religious grounds, but was declared unfit for health reasons.

Yuri met his future wife Irina in the company of friends. She also, like him, is familiar with biblical truths from childhood. Irina works as a hairdresser, loves spending time with friends, traveling, skiing and skating.

Yuriy's relatives and friends were agitated by the criminal prosecution of a peaceful believer. Even acquaintances who did not share Yuriy's confessions began to ask questions: why are Jehovah's Witnesses persecuted in Russia, and how can they be extremists if they do not take up arms?

Case History

In April 2021, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Yuriy Usanov. The next day, his house was searched, and then he was placed in a pre-trial detention center in the city of Anzhero-Sudzhensk. In August of the same year, Maksim Morozov was detained in the city of Tolyatti. He was later taken to the same pre-trial detention center. According to the investigation, the believers “organized the activities of a banned religious organization by means of the computer program  “Zoom” by convening and holding meetings of its members and holding conversations.” In September 2021, Yuriy Usanov registered a marriage with his fiancee Irina right in the pre-trial detention center. The case went to court in March 2022. The believers were taken to each meeting in a police van for seventy kilometers one way. In August 2023, the article of the charge was changed to participation in the activities of an extremist organization. Soon the Judge announced the verdict: three years in a penal colony, which she considered served and released the believers.