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Clockwise from top left: Brother Andrey Tabakov, Brother Mikhail Zelenskiy, Brother and Sister Mysin, Brother Aleksandr Ganin, and Brother Khoren Khachikyan

OCTOBER 2, 2020
RUSSIA

Four Brothers and a Married Couple Face Up to Seven Years in Prison in Russia

Four Brothers and a Married Couple Face Up to Seven Years in Prison in Russia

Scheduled Verdict

On October 5, 2020, * the Zasviyazhsky District Court of the City of Ulyanovsk is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case involving Brothers Aleksandr Ganin, Khoren Khachikyan, Andrey Tabakov, and Mikhail Zelenskiy, as well as Brother Sergey Mysin and his wife, Nataliya. They all face imprisonment, with individual terms ranging from three to seven years. The prosecutor also asked that the court confiscate their money and cars—totaling some 1.57 million rubles ($20,000 U.S.).

Profiles

Aleksandr Ganin

  • Born: 1957 (Ekhabi, Sakhalin Island)

  • Biography: Has been baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 20 years. Now retired and enjoys gardening

Khoren Khachikyan

  • Born: 1985 (Yerevan, Armenia)

  • Biography: Holds a degree in economics. Wrestled competitively as a youth. Known as a gentle and kind man

  • Began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses because he wanted to know God better and live by his commandments. Appreciates the Bible’s logic and harmony

Sergey Mysin

  • Born: 1965 (Kulebaki, Nizhny Novgorod Region)

  • Biography: While studying to become an engineer, he met his wife, Nataliya. They were married in 1991. They have been serving Jehovah together for over 20 years and have two grown children. Enjoys sports, especially lacrosse

Nataliya Mysina

  • Born: 1971 (Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg)

  • Biography: Was born into a military family. Lived in Germany before graduating from college as a pharmacist. Loves to cook and bake

Andrey Tabakov

  • Born: 1973 (Minsk, Belarus)

  • Biography: Works in information technology. Married his wife, Marina, in 2006. They studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and got baptized. Enjoys working with electronics, especially radios and computers

Mikhail Zelenskiy

  • Born: 1960 (Bulaesti, Moldova)

  • Biography: Has worked as a sailor and a truck driver. Married his wife, Victoria, in 1989. In the early 1990’s, they began studying the Bible. They grew to love Jehovah and were baptized

Case History

Nearly three years ago, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a surveillance operation that included recording the phone conversations of our brothers and sisters in Ulyanovsk. On February 24, 2019, the FSB opened a criminal investigation into the Mysins and Brothers Khachikyan, Tabakov, and Zelenskiy.

Three days later, at 5 a.m., officers raided the homes of Brothers Khachikyan, Tabakov, and Zelenskiy. All three brothers were arrested and temporarily detained. That same morning, Sister Mysina received a phone call. The caller informed her that her car had been damaged and asked that she and her husband, Sergey, step outside. As soon as Brother Mysin opened the door, FSB officers burst into the apartment. The officers searched the apartment and seized the family’s electronic devices. The couple were then arrested.

The next day, the Leninsky District Court of the Ulyanovsk Region placed Brother Mysin in pretrial detention. Sister Mysina and the other three brothers were placed under house arrest.

Brother Mysin spent a total of 55 days in pretrial detention and 123 days under house arrest. Sister Mysina, Brothers Khachikyan, Tabakov, and Zelenskiy spent between 50 and 55 days under house arrest.

On the morning of May 15, 2019, FSB officers searched the home of Brother Ganin and arrested him. He spent two days in a temporary holding facility.

All six publishers are now under minimal restrictions. However, the authorities continue to pressure them by other means. Local authorities have blocked the Mysins and Brother Tabakov from accessing money in their bank accounts, nearly 500,000 rubles ($6,313 U.S.) and 600,000 rubles ($7,575 U.S.) respectively.

We pray that the inspired words of the psalmist will continue to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Russia as they stand trial for their faith: “God is our refuge and strength, a help that is readily found in times of distress.”—Psalm 46:1.

[Footnote]

^ par. 3 Subject to change