JANUARY 21, 2021
On December 31, 2020, Brother Feliks Makhammadiyev was released from prison in Russia. The Belyayevsky District Court of the Orenburg Region ruled to temporarily place him in a deportation center until he acquired the documents needed to be deported to his native country of Uzbekistan. This was because Russia had revoked his citizenship in April 2020. On January 20, 2021, the authorities placed him on a train to Uzbekistan. We are pleased to report that Feliks safely arrived in Uzbekistan on January 21, 2021. His wife, Yevgeniya, traveled to Uzbekistan two days earlier, so she was there to meet him when he arrived.
Feliks lived in Russia for some 18 years. In 2002, when he was a teenager, he and his mother moved from Uzbekistan to Saratov, Russia. In 2004, at the age of 19, he was baptized. He married Yevgeniya in 2011.
On June 12, 2018, armed and masked Federal Security Service (FSB) officers and local police raided Feliks and Yevgeniya’s home. Feliks was arrested and spent almost one year in pretrial detention. He consistently found strength through prayer. He explains: “Every day I prayed to Jehovah that he give me peace and joy for that day.”
Feliks and five other brothers were subsequently convicted and sentenced to prison on September 19, 2019. After losing their appeal, Feliks and four of the other brothers were transferred to a prison in Orenburg, over 800 kilometers (500 mi) away from their homes and families in Saratov. Upon arriving, they were severely beaten.
Through it all, Feliks has maintained his joy and the smile for which he is well-known. Yevgeniya states: “I am so proud of him! Not only did he face the court trial with dignity but he continues to bear up with dignity, and he even helps me to endure.”
Although the Russian authorities intended to harm Feliks and break his faith, he says that his lengthy trial has instead strengthened his loyalty to Jehovah. We are thus reminded of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph told his brothers: “Although you meant to harm me, God intended it to turn out well.”