DECEMBER 18, 2020
On December 18, 2020, the Khostinskiy District Court of Sochi convicted Brothers Nikolay Kuzichkin and Vyacheslav Popov. The court imposed a sentence of one year and one month in prison for Nikolay and one year and ten months for Vyacheslav. However, due to the time they have already spent in pretrial detention, their sentences are considered complete. Vyacheslav, who is still in pretrial detention, is scheduled to be released as soon as the verdict comes into force. Nikolay has been released from house arrest.
Born: 1951 (Kostroma Region)
Biography: After completing music school, began his career as a piano tuner. Has raised three sons with his wife, Olga. Is also an accomplished beekeeper
Began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 1990’s. Seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled with his own eyes moved him to dedication and baptism in 1993
Born: 1974 (Tomsk)
Biography: An artist since childhood, became an interior designer. Met his wife, Yuliya, when they were in college. Married in 1998 and have one daughter and two sons. Moved to Sochi in 2010. The family enjoys skiing and trips to the seaside
Yuliya was the first to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. After the death of his father, Vyacheslav drew comfort from Bible truth. Was baptized in 2004
On the evening of October 10, 2019, groups of armed secret service officers, some accompanied by dogs, raided 36 homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sochi, Russia.
Young and old had to lie face down on the floor as their homes were searched. Cell phones, tablets, computers, literature, notebooks, and even postcards were all seized. In some cases, officers planted banned literature. As a result, the officers arrested Brothers Nikolay Kuzichkin and Vyacheslav Popov. The following day, both brothers were put in pretrial detention.
Brother Kuzichkin suffers from several severe health problems. Court officials repeatedly denied his requests for medical attention, stating that his condition did not fit the “list of diseases that prevent detention.” Further aggravating his deteriorating health, Nikolay was put into an overfilled cell with inmates who were smoking cigarettes.
Despite the life-threatening conditions in prison, Nikolay notes: “A prison is like an X-ray, showing the inner qualities of a Christian, or rather, whether they exist or not.” Instead of focusing on himself, Nikolay became known as a peaceful, kind man who makes an effort to help other inmates who are suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide.
On April 22, 2020, after having his pretrial detention extended six times, Nikolay was transferred from pretrial detention to house arrest. He was extremely weak and barely able to stand. Only then was Nikolay finally allowed medical treatment.
Vyacheslav’s pretrial detention was extended 14 times, thus separating him from his family for over a year.
We thank Nikolay and Vyacheslav for their examples of faith and determination to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty. They have been living by the words of Psalm 16:8: “I keep Jehovah before me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken.”