Yuriy Zalipayev was born in 1962 in Kuybyshev (now Samara). Seven years later, he and his parents moved to the Magadan Region. In 1983 he married his former classmate Natalya and they moved to the city of Mayskiy (Kabardino-Balkaria). There Yuriy worked as a driver, a supply manager for a children’s sports school, and a welder. He is fond of poetry, airbrushing and mountain hiking.
Yuriy and Natalya began to study the Bible together with Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1993; a year later they were baptised on the same day as followers of this religion. The couple brought up three children according to Bible teachings and commandments. They all became Jehovah’s Witnesses, as did Yuriy’s daughter-in-law, mother and sister.
In August 2017 a criminal case under Article 282(1) of the Russian Criminal Code, “incitement of hatred or enmity, and abasement of human dignity”, was initiated against this peace-loving, deeply religious person. He faces up to five years in prison. The investigators allege that Yuriy publicly incited Jehovah’s Witnesses “to beat Orthodox Christians and Muslims”. This accusation is not only untrue, but contradicts all common sense as well as established facts: Jehovah’s Witnesses’ rejection of violence is so absolute that tens of thousands of believers of this religion have been willing to face prison and sometimes certain death for refusing to serve in the armed forces of various countries.