FEBRUARY 15, 2021
On February 12, 2021, the Birobidzhan District Court of the Jewish Autonomous Region announced its verdict in the case involving Sister Larisa Artamonova. Though she faced up to six years in prison, the court ruled to fine her 10,000 rubles ($135 U.S.).
Born: 1970 (Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region)
Biography: Her father was murdered when she was three years old. Has worked as a pastry chef, graphic designer, and seamstress. Married in 1990. Has one son, Yevgeniy, who suffers from a rare disease. She has an autoimmune disease that affects her joints. Still leads an active life despite her health issues. Enjoys bicycling, skating, skiing, and drawing portraits
Questions about injustice, grief, and evil led her to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. She found satisfying answers in the Scriptures and was baptized in 1995
On September 25, 2019, Russian authorities initiated a criminal case against Sister Larisa Artamonova. Her son is facing separate criminal charges. They are among 22 Witnesses from the Jewish Autonomous Region to be charged with participating in the activities of an “extremist” organization.
Her mother and stepfather are puzzled that Larisa was almost sentenced to six years in prison for her religious beliefs—the same sentence given to the man who killed her father.
Shortly before the persecution started in Birobidzhan, Larisa and her son both increased their service to Jehovah significantly. She says: “Being busy in Jehovah’s service and strengthening your spirituality and the spirituality of your family helps you to avoid fear.” She adds: “Satan tries to use those who persecute us to instill in us the idea that our Christian activities pose a danger to our freedom. By contrast, Jehovah assures us that our freedom depends on doing what he has always taught us to do.”
The 22 brothers and sisters from Birobidzhan who have been charged are assured that Jehovah is pleased with their faithfulness and are certainly furnishing a reply to Satan’s taunts.—Proverbs 27:11.