Updated: April 15, 2024
Name: Korolev Sergey Vasiliyevich
Date of Birth: July 13, 1973
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1), 282.3 (1)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 658 day in a pre-trial detention, 228 day in prison
Sentence: punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term of 7 years with serving in a correctional colony of general regime, with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to leadership and participation in the work of religious organizations for a period of 3 years, with restriction of liberty for a period of 1 year
Currently held in: Penal Colony No. 3 in Tambov Region
Address for correspondence: Korolev Sergey Vasiliyevich, born 1973, IK No. 3 in Tambov Region, ul. Tsentralnaya, 6, p. Zelenyi, Tambov Region, Russia, 393265

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The calm way of life of the peaceful believer Sergey Korolev from Akhtubinsk was disturbed when law enforcement officers came to search his home. They considered conversations about God to be extremist activity and sent him to a detention center. In April 2023, the court sentenced the believer to seven years in a penal colony for his beliefs.

Sergey was born in 1973 in the city of Penza. He has a younger brother who is a hunter and fisherman. Their mother is retired. As a child, Sergey was fond of photography, loved to make something with his own hands and was inspired by the a magazine called "Yunyy Tekhnik" which his mother used to order for her sons.

Sergey received a vocational education. He likes to work with his own hands: he worked in furniture making, shoe repair and with photographic equipment. So, his childhood hobbies became his favorite work.

Sergey lived for some time in the towns of Kuznetsk (Penza Region), Ulyanovsk, and later settled in the town of Akhtubinsk, which is not far from Volgograd, where his wife's parents live.

In his free time, Sergey is still keen on photography and technology; he loves to listen to music and spends time with friends. He doesn't neglect his health by doing weight training, jogging and attending sauna.

Since his youth Sergey loved reading and one day he came across a book that talked about the origin of life and that man was created to live forever. Reading this book and getting to know Jehovah's Witnesses motivated him to study the Bible and he gained purpose in his life. In 1996, Sergey became a Christian.

In 2006, Sergey married Yekaterina. From childhood she also wondered about the purpose of life and read a lot—from Dale Carnegie to the Bhagavad Gita. When she began to study the Bible, she was impressed by the book's logic and the practical advice and principles it contained. Yekaterina and her husband love to sing, to take walks and to travel.

Sudden prosecution for their faith separated  close and strong family. Plans to visit Sergey's mother, whom he had not seen for two years, had to be cancelled. When she found out that a criminal case had been initiated against her son, she experienced severe stress, which made her chronic illneses worse. Although she does not share her son's religious beliefs, she considers him decent, modest and caring.

The mother is worried about the harsh sentence imposed on Sergey. Yekaterina supports her husband and trying to maintain a positive attitude, despite the difficulties.

Case History

On the morning of November 2021, searches and interrogations of Jehovah’s Witnesses took place in Akhtubinsk and Znamensk (Astrakhan Region). Some of them had previously been under surveillance. Law enforcement broke down doors, damaged property and forced both men and women to the floor. The Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against Sergey Korolev, Rinat Kiramov and Sergey Kosyanenko, considering peaceful religious services as extremist activity. The believers were placed in a temporary detention facility and then in a pre-trial detention, where they spent over 1.5 years. In October 2022, the case went to court. Some prosecution witnesses, including the classified one, partially or completely renounced their preliminary testimony. In April 2023, the court sentenced Korolev, Kiramov and Kosyanenko to 7 years of imprisonment. Four months later, a court of appeal upheld the believers’ sentence. The сourt of сassation upheld this decision.