Updated: March 2, 2024
Name: Zakaryan Vardan Pegatosovich
Date of Birth: June 12, 1971
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1.1)
Time spent in prison: 4 day in a temporary detention facility, 337 day in a pre-trial detention, 893 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: Detention center
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 4 years and 3 months with serving the sentence in a correctional colony of general regime
Currently held in: Detention Center No. 4 in Moscow
Address for correspondence: Zakaryan Vardan Pegatosovich, born 1971, SIZO No. 4 «Medved» in Moscow, ul. Vilyuiskaya, 4, Moscow, Russia, 127081

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.

Biography

On November 24, 2020, a believer from Moscow, Vardan Zakaryan, will remember for a long time: on this day security forces in Moscow broke into the apartments of civilians with searches. During the raid, Vardan was seriously injured. From a blow to the head with a butt, he received a head injury and was hospitalized.

Vardan Zakaryan was born in 1971 in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. He is the eldest of three brothers. In childhood he was engaged in sambo. Vardan also loved to help his grandmother take care of the garden. Later, this was very useful to him in life - he worked as a florist for over 12 years and had his own small flower business. It was at that time that he met his future wife, who also worked in this field. They got married in 2000. The couple raised two children. The daughter is studying at the university, and the son is in high school. Vardan is a tailor by profession, and for the last 30 years he has been working in an atelier.

In 1991, when Vardan was already living in Russia, he was the first of his family to start communicating with Jehovah's Witnesses and became interested in Bible teachings. He began to treat the Bible in a special way when he read it in Armenian and became convinced that the name of God, Jehovah, occurs there more than 7000 times. Later, his mother joined him in studying the Holy Scriptures.

The severe head injury inflicted by the security forces during the search was the second in his life. Vardan's relatives are worried about his health, but there is no way to undergo an examination due to the fact that the believer is under house arrest. The wife now has to work for two to provide for the whole family. The believer's children and wife are in constant fear, fearing surveillance and wiretapping. Friends of the spouses are perplexed why the investigator treated Vardan as a dangerous criminal, and why he was treated so rudely during the search.

Case history

In November 2020, a large-scale special operation was carried out in Moscow under the sight of television cameras — 22 searches were carried out in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Vardan Zakaryan had to be hospitalized due to injuries inflicted by the law enforcement officers. After 3 days, he was placed in detention at the address 38 Petrovka, where Vitaliy Komarov, Yuriy Chernyshev, Ivan Chaykovsky and Sergey Shatalov had been before him. These believers were accused of organizing the activity of an extremist organization, and Zakaryan was accused of involving others in it. It is noteworthy that in 2010 Ivan Chaykovsky, through the ECHR, obtained compensation for the violation of his rights due to the illegal liquidation of the Moscow community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. All 5 men spent more than 2 years under house arrest. In February 2022, their case went to court. The accusation was based on the testimony of the FSB agent “Makarov”, who feigned an interest in the Bible. In March 2023, the court sentenced Chaykovsky, Komarov, Chernyshev and Shatalov to 6 years and 3 months in a penal colony; Zakarian was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in a penal colony.