Updated: March 2, 2024
Name: Godunov Yevgeniy Nikolayevich
Date of Birth: February 22, 1986
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 34 day in a pre-trial detention, 63 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: Suspended sentence
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 6 years 6 months, with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to leadership and participation in the work of public and religious organizations (associations) for a term of 4 years, with restriction of liberty for a term of 1 year 6 months, a sentence of imprisonment shall be considered conditional with a probationary period of 4 years 6 months


After a raid on believers in the Tula region, several people were sent to a pre-trial detention center. Among them is 35-year-old Yevgeniy Godunov. The man is accused of organizing extremist activities only because he continues to believe in Jehovah God.

Yevgeniy was born in 1986 in Nevinnomyssk (Stavropol Territory). He is the only child in the family. As a child, Yevgeniy was so fond of reading books that even while studying in the lower grades, he was transferred to the library for high school students. Also, the boy was very fond of animals, pets have always lived in his house.

After school, Yevgeniy studied at a construction college. He worked as a shoe sewing and repairman. Later he acquired skills in the field of apartment renovation and decoration. He was fond of photography and worked in this field for some time. Recently I have been studying to repair TVs and laptops.

Yevgeniy’s mother and grandmother from childhood tried to instill in the boy a love for the Bible and for God. Having matured, Yevgeniy decided to figure out for himself how reasonable it is to believe what is written in this wise book. He understood that the time had come for him to choose his own path in life, and he chose to serve God.

When Yevgeniy was drafted into the army, he defended his right to alternative civilian service (ACS), since taking up arms and learning to fight was contrary to his peace-loving convictions. In the fall of 2004, Yevgeniy was one of the first Russian believers who was sent to the ACS 1800 km from his home (at that time Astrakhan) in the city of Kardymovo (Smolensk region). There he worked in a nursing home for the elderly and disabled for 3 years and 8 months.

Yevgeniy met his future wife Yelena in Sasovo (Ryazan region) in 2010. They got married two years later. Yelena is very hardworking: she likes housekeeping, cooking and handicrafts, caring for animals. Elena, just like Yevgeniy, deeply values the Bible and lives in harmony with Christian moral norms. She shares that this wise book once helped her avoid many mistakes in life. Spouses often host guests, like to play board games, go out into nature.

Yevgeniy’s relatives are very worried about him and wonder how such a benevolent, hardworking and decent person can be persecuted just because he loves God and the Bible.

Case history

In April 2021, security forces searched 17 addresses of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tula and Kireevsk. In March of the same year, the FSB opened a criminal case against Gurami Labadze, Yevgeny Godunov, Angela Putivskaya and Yulia Popkova against each on charges of extremism. The investigation considered it a crime to “organize religious speeches” and “carry out preaching activities.” After searches and interrogations, Gurami was placed under house arrest, and Angela, Yulia and Yevgeniy were placed in a pre-trial detention center. A month later, they were also placed under house arrest. Later, all were replaced by a measure of restraint on their own recognizance. The case went to court in April 2023, and in November the court handed down a sentence: Godunov and Labadze - 6 years and 6 months of suspended imprisonment, Putivskaya and Popkova - 2 years and 6 months of probation.