APRIL 2, 2021
The Birobidzhan District Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region will soon announce its verdict in the case involving Sister Anastasiya Guzeva. *
Born: 1979 (Birobidzhan)
Biography: Raised by her single mother, along with two brothers. As a child, enjoyed reading, playing sports, and ballroom dancing. At age ten, found a Bible at her grandmother’s home. This initiated her journey to learn about God. Later, she and her mother studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They were both baptized in 1995. Married her husband, Konstantin, in 2001
Russian authorities raided Anastasiya and Konstantin’s apartment in May 2018. Charges of “extremism” were brought against Konstantin in July 2019 and Anastasiya in February 2020. A total of 19 cases have been filed against 23 Witnesses in the Jewish Autonomous Region.
The criminal investigation has significantly disrupted Anastasiya and Konstantin’s day-to-day lives. Because they have been labeled “extremists,” both were forced to resign from the music school where they worked. Konstantin received a two-and-a-half-year suspended prison sentence in February 2021.
Anastasiya describes what has helped her to endure: “It is better to assume that you will face persecution and practice in your mind how you will act in difficult situations. For example, as you read about the events of Jesus’ final day on earth, it is clear that he had thought about how he would behave during his detention, . . . when he would speak, when he would remain silent, and what he would say if he did speak.”
Anastasiya expresses that she now finds special meaning in the words recorded at Romans 8:38, 39. She explains: “There is a reason for joy in these words. The two most powerful personages in the entire universe love me, and no one can take away that love. This realization motivates me to endure and to be courageous.”
^ par. 3 Advance notice of the verdict date is not always available.