Valentina Baranovskaya with lawyer Artur Ganin immediately after her release. May 2022

Served Sentences

The Oldest Believer Was Released From Prison on Probation. The Court of Appeal Approved the Decision to Release Valentina Baranovskaya


On May 4, 2022, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Khakassia approved the decision of the Ust-Abakan district court about the parole of 71-year-old believer. She was greeted on her way out of the colony by her many friends.

The court considered the appeal of the prosecutor against the decision of the judge of the Ust-Abakan district court Maria Zablotskaya of February 22, 2022. A few months earlier the believer had petitioned for parole. The court granted it, but Abakan's assistant prosecutor V. Hasan filed a complaint against this decision. The woman was forced to remain behind bars until the appeal hearing. This further aggravated her health condition, as Valentina suffered a stroke in 2020.

In October 2021, the believer, who is convinced that she did not commit anything illegal, had already asked for a commutation of her sentence due to her illness. She had petitioned the same court, but was denied. Her next petition for parole, filed several months later, was granted.

Almost three years ago, in April 2019, a criminal case was opened against Valentina Baranovskaya and her son Roman Baranovskiy under the article "participation in the activities of a liquidated organization." This is how law enforcers regarded the usual practice of believers to meet and discuss the Bible in a circle of friends. Mother and son received unprecedentedly harsh sentences: Valentina received two years in prison and Roman received six years. Roman Baranovskiy remains in a penal colony, where he will spend another five years.

There are still 13 Jehovah's Witnesses over the age of 60 in prisons at the moment. The oldest is Vilen Avanesov, who will turn 70 in 2022.

Unfortunately, such unjustified persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses continues in dozens of Russian regions. The world community condemns the persecution of peaceful believers simply because they remain faithful to their religious beliefs.

Case of Baranovskiy in Abakan

Case History
In April 2019, the investigator of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation A. Pachuev opened a criminal case against Roman Baranovsky and his mother, Valentina. At the same time, armed law enforcement officers searched their house. Believers from Abakan were accused of organizing the activities of an extremist organization and participating in it. In the summer of 2020, the case was submitted to the Abakan City Court. Against the background of severe stress, Valentina had a stroke. In February 2021, Judge Yelena Shcherbakova found the believers guilty and sentenced Roman to 6 years in prison and Valentina to 2 years. The 70-year-old believer became the first woman Jehovah’s Witness in Russia to be sentenced to actual imprisonment. The Supreme Court of Khakassia upheld this decision. In the fall of 2021, despite Valentina’s serious illnesses, the court denied her early release. Her repeated petition was granted, and on May 4, 2022, Valentina was released. Roman continues to serve his sentence in a penal colony.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Suspected of:
[to be determined]
Court case number:
April 10, 2019
Current case stage:
the verdict entered into force
[to be determined]
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2), 282.2 (1)
Court case number:
1-34/2021 (1-707/2020)
Абаканский городской суд
Елена Щербакова
Case History