Updated: March 2, 2024
Name: Baranovskaya Valentina Ivanovna
Date of Birth: April 8, 1951
Current status: who has served the main sentence
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 89 day in a pre-trial detention, 345 day in prison
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 2 years in a correctional colony of general regime, with restriction of liberty for a term of 6 months; Replaced with parole


On April 10, 2019, searches were carried out in the families of believers in Abakan. Valentina Baranovskaya and her son Roman were detained. A criminal case was opened against them under an "extremist" article. The investigation lasted more than a year, and then the case was considered in court for 8 months. In February 2021, an unprecedented decision was made: a 70-year-old woman was sentenced to 2 years in prison for believing in Jehovah God. 3 months later, the Supreme Court of Khakassia upheld the verdict.

Valentina was born in 1951 in the Kazakh village of Vannovka. Together with her older brother and sister, she grew up in a family dominated by communist beliefs. In 1973 she graduated from the Ufa Financial College in absentia. The next year, a son, Roman, was born. When he was 7 years old, the family settled in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). In 1991 they moved to Abakan, where they still live.

Valentina worked as an accountant and economist and retired in 2006. She is a creative person, since childhood she writes poetry, loves to give her friends wedding greetings and songs. She loves to cook and receive guests, and in her free time she loves to solve crosswords.

Back in 1995, Valentina and her son began reading the Bible. She was struck by the beautiful truths that are contained there. She was particularly impressed by the idea that God could not lie. She decided to trust the Bible always and in everything and live according to its commandments.

The criminal prosecution undermined Valentina's health: in the summer of 2020, just before the start of the court hearings, she was diagnosed with a cerebral infarction, or ischemic stroke. According to the doctors, the believer was in the hospital in a moderate condition. All this, however, did not prevent the court from sentencing the elderly woman to a real prison term.

Relatives were shocked to learn that Valentina and her son were convicted only because of their faith. “They know that we are peaceful, kind, decent people ... They still cannot come to their senses,” says Valentina.

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.