FEBRUARY 11, 2021
On February 18, 2021, * the Birobidzhan District Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case involving Sister Yuliya Kaganovich. The prosecutor has yet to request a potential sentence.
Born: 1966 (Mikhaylovka, Volgograd Region)
Biography: Studied civil engineering. As a youth, attended a dance studio, graduated from music school, played in an orchestra, and sang in a choir. Her husband, Aleksandr, does not share her beliefs, but he supports Yuliya and believes the criminal case against her is a gross injustice
Experiencing the loss of loved ones prompted her to think about the meaning of life. The Bible’s answers helped her to find peace and hope. Baptized in 1998. Bible principles have helped her to strengthen her marriage, improve her other relationships, and raise her son, Artur, who is also one of Jehovah’s Witnesses
The criminal prosecution is weakening her already poor physical health
“When they knocked on my door early in the morning, I immediately knew who it was,” recalls Sister Yuliya Kaganovich. “My heart was beating fast, and I was only able to repeat one thing: ‘Help me, Jehovah. Help me, Jehovah.’”
The religious persecution of our 53-year-old sister began on October 10, 2019, in the Russian city of Birobidzhan. The early morning search of Yuliya’s home was part of a mass raid by Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers of nearly two dozen homes of our brothers and sisters in the same region.
The raids were extremely stressful, but Yuliya and the other Witnesses drew strength from being prepared.
“We repeatedly said at meetings that there could be searches, and we need to be ready for them,” Yuliya says. “Since I knew they were likely to happen, I prepared mentally for how I would behave and what I would say.” She adds: “I realized how important it was to think about what to do in advance. As a result, I was able to think quickly instead of being confused and flustered, not knowing what to do.”
As expected, Russian authorities speedily opened a criminal case after the raids. Yuliya and others were charged with so-called extremist activity.
On March 3, 2020, officials forwarded the case to the Birobidzhan District Court. The trial was suspended for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yuliya returned to court on October 22, 2020.
“On the one hand, I did not want to be in that situation. But on the other hand, it was a joy to stand up for Jehovah’s sovereignty,” Yuliya says.
“Isaiah 41:10 could not have been more relevant. I printed out the verse and hung it in my home so that I would keep Jehovah God’s words of assurance before me,” she says. “I have personally experienced Jehovah strengthen my trembling knees.”
Yuliya had worked hard to memorize several scriptures that helped her to be calm, courageous, and joyful despite the stressful circumstances.
May all of us act wisely now by preparing ourselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for future tests. We are assured that “Jehovah will not hold back anything good from those walking in integrity.”—Psalm 84:11.
^ par. 3 Subject to change.