Updated: December 8, 2023
Name: Vilitkevich Anatoliy Sergeyevich
Date of Birth: September 15, 1986
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 70 day in a pre-trial detention, 252 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: Suspended sentence
Sentence: punishment in the form of 2 years of imprisonment with restriction of liberty for 6 months; The sentence of imprisonment shall be considered suspended with a probationary period of 3 years


"An open letter to you is our cry of despair. Our dear people ... are thrown behind bars on suspicion that ... they read the commandments of the Bible and prayed to God" - these are the words that start an open collective letter to the Head and all members of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights. The authors of this letter are wives of Russian believers persecuted for their faith. Unfortunately, this step did not stop the criminal prosecution. Anatoliy Vilitkevich is one of those who found himself in the status of the defendant under the "extremist" article.

Anatoliy was born in 1986 in Khabarovsk. He has an older sister. Parents developed respect for the Creator in their children. The boy was affected by the Creator's promise about the time when people and animals would live in peace with each other. Therefore, at a young age, he decided to become a Christian.

Since childhood Anatoliy likes sports games: table tennis, basketball and volleyball. After school he entered a construction technical school, but after 2 years he had to quit his studies: his vision began to deteriorate because of working with drawings. Nevertheless, the man works in construction: he performs finishing works.

In 2008, Anatoliy married Alyona, a girl who shares his Christian values. She got acquainted with the Bible as a teenager, and at the age of 20 she consciously became a Christian. Alyona realized that only the moral norms of God bring true happiness. She was also affected by the fact that prophecies written in the Bible are fulfilled before her eyes.

In 2010, a young family moved to Ufa - the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The spouses love to go hiking with tents and enjoy the nature of Bashkiria.

Case history

Anatoliy Vilitkevich became one of the first Jehovah’s Witnesses who was imprisoned for his faith. After a series of searches conducted at the homes of believers in Ufa in April 2018, Vilitkevich was placed in a pre-trial detention center for 2 months. The arrest was preceded by surveillance: in the apartment where he lives with his wife, the special services installed hidden video footage. For friendly meetings and communication on spiritual topics with friends, Vilitkevich was accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization. Since October 2020, the case has been considered in the Leninsky District Court of Ufa. At the hearings, some prosecution witnesses did not recognize the believer, and those who know him expressed disagreement with the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The prosecutor asked the court to sentence Vilitkevich to 7 years in prison. On September 27, 2021, judge Oksana Ilalova sentenced him to 2 years probation with a probation period of 3 years and restriction of liberty for 6 months. On December 16, 2021, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan approved the verdict.