Updated: April 15, 2024
Name: Kosyanenko Sergey Ivanovich
Date of Birth: June 11, 1961
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. 6 in Moscow region
Address for correspondence: Kosyanenko Sergey Ivanovich, born 1961, IK No. 6 in Moscow region, Kolychevsky pr-d, 6, g. Kolomna, Moscow region, Russia, 140405

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Sergey Kosyanenko is a peaceful believer from the town of Znamensk. He is an international master of sport and a record holder and multiple winner of all-Russian and international tournaments in weight lifting. In the fall of 2021, security forces raided his home and conducted a search. Sergey was charged with organizing the activities of an extremist organization and sent to a pre-trial detention center. The court sentenced him to seven years in prison because of his love for the Bible.

Sergey was born in June 1961 in the urban-type settlement of Elani, Volgograd Region. He is the oldest of three children. Since early childhood, Sergey has loved sports; he played football and hockey and was also fond of collecting stamps. At the age of 13, he entered the Kosovo Art College, where he became a master of artistic woodworking.

Sergey has a rich history of professional activity. He worked as a graphic designer, served as an ensign in a marine brigade in the Baltic Fleet, and worked as a teacher in a secondary school and gymnasium, as well as in a youth sports school.

Sergey has been kettlebell lifting for many years. He set two Russian records in the weight category up to 65 kg and developed a training method that prepared many winners, including women.

Until his criminal prosecution, Sergey lived in the town of Znamensk, Astrakhan Region, and worked as a sports instructor, promoted sports among young people, and organized soccer tournaments. In his free time, he composed poetry and music, played the guitar, wrote and published prose on literary websites, played soccer, volleyball, and chess, and participated in weightlifting competitions among veterans; he also enjoyed solving Japanese crosswords and going fishing.

In the early 2000s, while serving in the military, Sergey began to study the Bible in depth. He was impressed by its internal harmony, its historical accuracy, and its fulfilled prophecies. He decided to leave the military two years before retirement. In May 2002, Sergey became a Christian.

The changes in his personality deeply impressed his wife, Olga, to whom Sergey has been married since 1983, and in 2003 she also became a Christian. Olga is fond of sewing and cooking. Together, the couple raised a son and a daughter who share their outlook on life. Sergey and Olga love spending time with their children and grandchildren—watching movies together, playing board games, and relaxing in nature.

Sergey's relatives are outraged by his unfair persecution and harsh sentence. They are worried about his future.

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.