Updated: July 12, 2024
Name: Sushilnikov Sergey Vasiliyevich
Date of Birth: January 10, 1957
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Current restrictions: suspended sentence
Sentence: punishment in the form of 6 years of imprisonment with deprivation of the right to engage in educational activities in all types of educational institutions for a period of 5 years, with restriction of liberty for a period of 1 year, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be considered conditional with a probationary period of 4 years

Biography

A peaceful pensioner and labor veteran from Novokuznetsk, 64-year-old Sergey Sushilnikov, faced persecution for his faith in June 2021. His house was searched, the believer himself was accused of extremism and a written undertaking not to leave was taken from him.

Sergey was born in January 1957 in the city of Korkino, Chelyabinsk Region. As a child, he was fond of various sports. He was the champion of the city among schoolchildren in athletics, basketball, volleyball and table tennis.

Sergey graduated from the Korkinsky Mining and Construction College with honors. He worked as a mechanic in the housing and communal services, a foreman and head of the district boiler house, a grinder at the plant. After retiring, he worked as a janitor until 2019. He was repeatedly awarded certificates of honor and cash prizes for conscientious work and received the honorary title of veteran of labor.

In 1979, Sergey married Tatiana, whom he met while studying at a technical school. After the wedding, the couple moved to Novokuznetsk for distribution. Sergey and Tatyana raised two daughters. Now both are married and have children. The Sushilnikovs love to walk in nature, pick mushrooms, do housework and receive guests.

In 1995, Sergey bought a Bible and began reading it out of curiosity. Sergey's relative, one of Jehovah's Witnesses, helped him better understand this book. Thanks to thoughtful reading of the Bible, Sergey quit smoking and swearing. Inner consistency and the fulfilling prophecies in this book soon prompted him to become one of Jehovah's Witnesses. His wife, Tatiana, liked God's promises about the future. As a result, she became a Christian.

The criminal prosecution affected the financial situation of the Sushilnikovs - Sergey's bank accounts were blocked, and the apartment requires repair, since during the search the security forces damaged the property. In addition, the persecution affected their emotional state. Sergey says: "We still feel anxious, we shudder at every doorbell. When we are summoned to the investigator, to the court, we experience stress - blood pressure rises, headaches begin. The daughters of Sergey and Tatiana worry about their parents, regularly calling them, asking if they have come to them with a new search.

Case History

During 2019 and 2020, the FSB monitored the telephone conversations of believers from/to Novokuznetsk and made audio and video recordings of meetings for worship. In June 2021, the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against a veteran of labor, Sergey Sushilnikov. The peaceful believer was accused of continuing the activity of the local religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and having conversations “in order to promote the activity of this banned organization”. His apartment was searched, during which time the law enforcement officers used force against Sergey and his wife and damaged their property. The believer was made to sign an agreement to appear if summoned, and later – a recognizance agreement. In July 2021, he was added to the Rosfinmonitoring list of extremists and his accounts were blocked. Sushilnikov’s criminal case went to court in February 2022. After 11 months, the believer was given a 6-year suspended sentence. The court of appeal upheld this decision.