Updated: April 19, 2024
Name: Zavrazhnov Maksim Mikhailovich
Date of Birth: July 9, 1981
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility
Current restrictions: Suspended sentence
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 6 years with restriction of liberty for a term of 1 year; The sentence of imprisonment shall be considered suspended with a probationary period of 4 years


On July 16 and 17, mass searches were carried out in the homes of believers in several settlements of the Nizhny Novgorod region. A total of 35 searches were conducted, and at least 11 people are involved in the criminal case. One of them is Maxim Zavrazhnov. What is known about him?

Maxim was born in 1981 in Nizhny Novgorod (at that time - Gorky) and became the youngest son in the family of an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As a child, he was fond of sports and music, graduated from a music school in piano and taught himself to play the guitar. After school, he entered the river school and graduated with a diploma in radio mechanics. He worked as a driver, a builder, now he works as a builder-electrician.

In 2008, Maksim married Nadezhda, a lawyer by education. She shares her husband's love for music, like him, graduated from music school in piano. He is interested in design, sometimes helps Maxim in his work on construction sites.

Thanks to the influence of his mother, Maxim has been familiar with the Bible since childhood. It is noteworthy that he became the first in the Nizhny Novgorod region to whom the law on alternative civilian service (ACS) was applied. During that difficult period of his life, the young man faced severe pressure from the staff of the military registration and enlistment office, who tried to force him to give up his legal right to undergo the ACS due to peace-loving religious beliefs. Maksim became the object of harassment by the local media. Due to the unbearable conditions at the place of service, he asked to be transferred to another place, but instead he was tried and given a suspended sentence. And now history repeats itself, only now the state has decided to incriminate Maxim with extremism.

Maksim's relatives are extremely outraged by the unfair and groundless persecution for the faith of this man, who is alien to violence in any form and which the state has already recognized. They are deeply worried about him and provide him with all possible support.

Case History

In July 2019, the Russian Interior Ministry for the Nizhny Novgorod Region conducted searches in a total of 35 homes of local Jehovah’s Witnesses. Several criminal cases were initiated, one of them against Maksim Zavrazhnov, a resident of Nizhny Novgorod. The believer was accused of “conducting meetings, collecting donations for the needs of a religious organization and improving the skills of missionary activity.” For seven months, Zavrazhnov was under a ban on certain actions, and in February 2020 he was placed under a recognizance agreement. In October 2021, the case was submitted to the district court. During the hearings, some witnesses stated that the protocols they signed contained information that they did not disclose. The prosecutor requested 5 years in a penal colony for the believer, but the court gave him a 6 year suspended sentence. In December 2022, an appeal upheld this decision.