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Brother Roman Baranovskiy and his mother, Sister Valentina Baranovskaya

JANUARY 29, 2021

UPDATE | Brother Roman Baranovskiy and His Mother, Sister Valentina Baranovskaya, Face Conviction in Russia

UPDATE | Brother Roman Baranovskiy and His Mother, Sister Valentina Baranovskaya, Face Conviction in Russia

On May 4, 2022, an appeals court in Khakassia ruled to release 71-year-old Sister Valentina Baranovskaya from prison. The court rejected the complaint filed by the prosecutor who attempted to stop her release. Valentina spent over a year in jail. Her son, Roman, remains in prison for his faith.

On March 4, 2022, the prosecutor’s office appealed a decision by the Ust-Abakan District Court to release Valentina on parole. The prosecutor argued that Valentina should not be released early from her sentence as she “has not repented of her crime.” Valentina will remain in prison at least until the prosecutor’s appeal is heard.

On May 24, 2021, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Khakassia, Russia, denied the appeal of Brother Roman Baranovskiy and his 70-year-old mother, Valentina. They will remain in prison. The court also confirmed that added restrictions will be imposed on them after their future release from prison.

On February 24, 2021, the Abakan City Court of the Republic of Khakassia sentenced Roman to six years in prison. The court also sentenced Roman’s mother, Valentina, to a two-year prison sentence. This is the first time one of our sisters in Russia has been sentenced to prison for practicing her faith. Valentina will be 70 years old in April 2021 and suffered a stroke in July 2020. After the verdict was announced, both were taken into custody.


Roman Baranovskiy

  • Born: 1974 (Balakovo, Saratov Region)

  • Biography: Supports himself and his mother by renovating homes. Enjoys playing guitar, chess, and soccer

    As a teenager, he wondered about the meaning of life. He recalls, “Sometimes I asked God to show me the right way.” In 1993, started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Baptized in 1997

Valentina Baranovskaya

  • Born: 1951 (Vannovka, Kazakhstan)

  • Biography: Worked as an accountant and financial planner until she retired in 2006. Enjoys cooking as well as writing songs and poetry

    In 1995, started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses along with her son. Was especially impressed to learn that God cannot lie. Baptized in 1996

Case History

On the night of April 10, 2019, armed law enforcement officers in Abakan raided four homes, including that of Brother Roman Baranovskiy and his mother, Valentina. Officers confiscated their Bibles, electronic devices, and personal records. A criminal case was opened against Roman and Valentina.

“When the raid took place,” Roman recalls, “we were at the midweek meeting and had just discussed 1 Corinthians 10:13. There was an important thought—Jehovah doesn’t assign trial . . . He doesn’t think to himself: ‘You’re strong, which means you’ll face this trial. But you, you’re weaker, here’s an easier trial.’ If that was the case, everything would depend on our strength. Various trials can befall any one of us. If we rely on Jehovah’s strength, we can all endure.”

In July 2020, Valentina suffered a stroke. She recalls: “The more my physical condition worsened, the clearer it became to me that Jehovah was beside me. This is because I never stopped praying, and it seemed like he took me into his arms. I felt such peace and serenity that I can’t fully express it.”

All of these experiences have led Valentina to a powerful conclusion: “My determination is to serve our Father eternally and to remain faithful to him no matter what happens in my life.”

Roman says that meditating on the examples of endurance found in the Bible and in modern times has helped strengthen his faith. While thinking on such examples, he often asks himself: ‘What circumstances did they find themselves in and why? What helped them to remain faithful? How did Jehovah support them by means of his spirit?’ The answers to those questions have further assured Roman that, no matter the trial, “Jehovah will provide superhuman strength if necessary.”

We pray that Roman, Valentina, and all of our dear brothers and sisters in Russia will continue to look to Jehovah as their refuge and strength.—Psalm 46:1.