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From left to right: Brother Aleksey Berchuk and his wife, Anna; Brother Dmitriy Golik and his wife, Kristina

MARCH 9, 2021

Brothers Aleksey Berchuk and Dmitriy Golik Face Criminal Conviction in Blagoveshchensk

Brothers Aleksey Berchuk and Dmitriy Golik Face Criminal Conviction in Blagoveshchensk

UPDATE | Russian Court Denies Second Appeal

On February 16, 2022, the Ninth General Jurisdiction Court of Cassation denied the second appeal of Brothers Aleksey Berchuk and Dmitriy Golik. They remain in prison.

On September 2, 2021, the Amur Regional Court denied the appeal of Aleksey and Dmitriy. Aleksey’s sentence remained the same, but the court reduced Dmitriy’s sentence by ten months. They were transferred from pretrial detention to prison.

Russian Court Sentences Two Brothers to Some of the Longest Prison Sentences Since 2017

On June 30, 2021, the Blagoveshchensk City Court of the Amur Region sentenced Aleksey and Dmitriy to eight years and seven years in prison respectively. Previously, seven and a half years was the longest prison sentence for one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia since the organization was banned in 2017. Both brothers were taken into custody from the courtroom.


Aleksey Berchuk

  • Born: 1975 (Kartaly, Chelyabinsk Region)

  • Biography: Has worked in construction and finish carpentry. Began studying the Bible in the 1990’s. He gave up violent sports and now enjoys playing soccer with friends. Baptized in 1998. Married his wife, Anna, in 2008

Dmitriy Golik

  • Born: 1987 (Tokhoy, Republic of Buryatia)

  • Biography: Works as a Chinese-to-Russian translator. He enjoys weight training, soccer, and playing guitar

    His entire family began studying the Bible in the 1990’s. He was baptized in 2002. When conscripted for military service, he requested alternative civilian service. Was assigned to work in a nursing home. Married his wife, Kristina, in 2012. Together they are learning English and Chinese to expand their ministry

Case History

Early in 2018, government agents secretly installed audio and video surveillance equipment in the home of Brother Golik. In June 2018, Federal Security Service (FSB) agents raided seven residences of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout Blagoveshchensk. As a result, a criminal case was launched against Brothers Dmitriy Golik and Aleksey Berchuk. They are accused of organizing so-called extremist activity.

Aleksey was not immediately informed of the criminal charges filed against him. On January 21, 2019, he was detained at the passport control in the Domodedovo Moscow Airport. A senior FSB investigator then escorted Aleksey back to his home city, where he remains under travel restrictions.

Both brothers underscore the value of advance preparation. Dmitriy reflects, “It is better to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” He continues: “Of course, practical preparation was beneficial. But spiritual preparation was far more valuable. Under persecution, what is important isn’t how clever we are or how well we can hide from our persecutors, but our loyalty to God. Jesus could have successfully hidden from his enemies too, but that wasn’t his goal. As his disciples, our goal is not to avoid difficulties, but to face them in a dignified manner.”

Aleksey adds: “It would be a mistake to think, ‘This can’t happen to me.’ It is clear Jehovah is allowing this to take place. If you mentally acknowledge this in advance and develop a positive attitude, then, when it does happen, it will be far easier to accept and endure it, relying on Jehovah’s help.”

We know our brothers in Russia, including Aleksey, Dmitriy, and their wives, will continue to echo the psalmist’s words: “Look! God is my helper; Jehovah is with those supporting me.”—Psalm 54:3, 4.