Updated: March 2, 2024
Name: Gruzdeva Kristina Aleksandrovna
Date of Birth: September 10, 1983
Current status: Defendant
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2), 282.2 (1.1)

Biography

Back in Soviet times, Kristina Gruzdeva's grandmother was repressed on ethnic grounds and spent 19 years in prison. Now, in modern Russia, Kristina also faced unfair persecution, but in her case, for her faith in Jehovah God.

Kristina was born in September 1983 in Kurgan. His father worked as an electrician, his mother was an engineer-physicist by education. For many years, the woman worked at the Kurgan Center for Standardization and Metrology. The father did not take an active part in the life of the children, so mother, basically, raised them alone. Kristina has a younger brother.

As a child, Kristina studied ballet, in high school she fell in love with reading, especially Russian classical literature. She graduated in psychology. After university, she worked for some time by profession in a kindergarten. Kristina now works as a housekeeper.

Kristina’s grandmother was a religious person, she taught her daughter traditions and customs, which she carried to her family, although she was an atheist. Growing up, the children began to ask their mother questions about the existence of God, about the meaning of religious symbols and traditions. To answer them, Kristina’s mother began reading the Bible in 1994. Two years later, she became one of Jehovah's Witnesses. From childhood, Kristina was interested in the Bible, she was captivated by the consistency of this book and its consistency with science, as well as the practicality of Bible advice for a modern person. In 2000, Kristina and her brother also embarked on the Christian path.

In 2005, Kristina married Maksim, who shares her outlook on life. A year after the wedding, the couple moved to Berezovsky (Sverdlovsk region). In 2016, their daughter was born. The Gruzdevs lead an active lifestyle, love to go hiking together, although the daughter does not share this love yet. The girl loves to paint. Kristina is fond of needlework and sewing, learns German, loves theater and ballet.

After the search, Kristina is afraid of separation from her child, worries if she and her family are being followed. The believer recalls: "The day after the search, for the first time in my life, I learned what a panic attack is."

Kristina’s mother and mother-in-law, who is not Jehovah's Witness, are outraged that peaceful people are being unjustly persecuted. Kristina’s brother shared: "When I was collecting documents confirming that my grandmother was repressed in the Soviet Union because of her nationality, I could not even imagine that my sister living in a democratic country would be persecuted on religious grounds."

Case history

In October 2020, the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Sverdlovsk Region opened a criminal case against Konstantin Zotov and Natalia Kochneva from the city of Berezovsky. Shortly thereafter, a series of searches took place in the homes of 10 believers. In September 2021, the investigation brought in 5 more believers as defendants - Kristina Gruzdeva, Valentina Kugukov, Alexandra Zakharova and the Fokin spouses, Stanislav and Marina. In October, another criminal case was opened against Zotov. In March 2022, a new version of the charge was brought against Konstantin — the believer is being persecuted under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation at once.