SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
On September 29, 2020, * the Pervorechenskiy District Court of Vladivostok is scheduled to announce its verdict in the case involving Sister Yelena Barmakina. She faces a three-year suspended prison sentence. As Sister Barmakina awaits the verdict, hearings continue in a separate case against her husband, Dmitriy.
Born: 1967 (Cherepanovo, Novosibirsk Region)
Biography: Primary caregiver for her aged parents and grandmother. Turned her love of photography into her profession. Enjoys swimming and hiking
When she began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, she became convinced that fulfilled prophecies give proof of God’s power. Her faith grew as she saw Jehovah answering her prayers. Married her husband, Dmitriy, in 2003
At 7:00 a.m. on July 28, 2018, a group of armed and masked officers broke into the apartment of Sister Yelena Barmakina’s 90-year-old grandmother. Sister Barmakina and her husband, Dmitriy, were staying there as caregivers. Brother Barmakin was arrested and placed in pretrial detention. The authorities threatened Sister Barmakina, telling her, “You’re next!”
One year later, the authorities blocked Sister Barmakina from accessing her bank accounts. On August 6, 2019, a local investigator launched a criminal case against Sister Barmakina for praying, reading the Bible, and watching sermons. Her lawyer asked the court to dismiss the charges, since her so-called crimes were nothing more than typical acts of worship. However, the judge sided with the prosecution’s claim that Sister Barmakina’s actions constituted “extremist activities” prohibited by Russian law.
Sister Barmakina has experienced emotional and physical stress due to these criminal proceedings. She was separated from her husband for 447 days while he was in pretrial detention. Sister Barmakina is also severely limited in her options for employment, since she must be available if she is summoned for a trial or interrogation.
From our study of the Bible, we are not surprised that Russian authorities have “pushed hard” in an attempt to break the integrity of our brothers and sisters. However, we are comforted knowing that Jehovah will continue to be their secure ‘shelter and strength.’—Psalm 118:13, 14.
^ par. 3 Subject to change