Updated: May 19, 2024
Name: Shepel Viola Alexandrovna
Date of Birth: July 19, 1976
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Current restrictions: recognizance agreement
Sentence: punishment in the form of 3 years 3 months of imprisonment, with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to leadership and participation in the work of public organizations for a period of 2 years, with restriction of liberty for a period of 1 year, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be considered suspended with a probationary period of 2 years


In February 2019, one of the most massive and inhumane operations against believers took place in Surgut and several other cities of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. 7 people reported torture, 3 people were in custody for a long time, and the total number of defendants in criminal cases exceeded 20. One of them is Viola Shepel.

Viola was born in 1976 in the city of Stepnogorsk (Kazakhstan). She has a brother. Their father is an engineer, their mother is a computer operator of an instrument factory. Viola herself chose the medical path and graduated from the Tomsk Basic Medical College. She worked for 8 years in the oncology department of the clinic, and recently she has been working as a district nurse in the pediatric department.

When Viola was 3 years old, her family moved to Tomsk, Russia. In 2003, she got married and moved in with her husband in Surgut. Around the same time, she found in the Bible reasonable answers to her questions about the existence of God, the meaning of life, and relationships between people.

Viola and her husband Pavel have a daughter. The whole family loves to be in nature and travel, often organize holidays for friends.

Case History

In February 2019, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against 18 men and 1 woman from Surgut (among them was a man mistaken for a Jehovah’s Witness). Their homes were searched. During the interrogations, 7 believers were subjected to violence. Artur Severinchik was sent to a pre-trial detention center for 29 days, and Yevgeny Fedin and Sergey Loginov - for 56. Timofey Zhukov was illegally placed in a psychiatric hospital for 14 days. Believers complained about the use of torture to the Investigative Committee, the ECHR and the Commissioner for Human Rights, a press conference was held with the participation of human rights defenders, but none of the security forces was ever brought to justice. In October 2021, the case materials were submitted to the court. The prosecutor requested imprisonment for the defendants for a term of 3 years and 3 months to 8.5 years in prison, and for Loginov - 9.5 years, which was the most severe request for punishment for believing in Jehovah God in modern Russia.