Updated: May 24, 2024
Name: Zhugin Nikolay Nikolayevich
Date of Birth: February 14, 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 2 years 6 months of imprisonment, with restriction of liberty for a term of 8 months, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be considered conditional with a probationary period of 2 years


On May 14, 2018, a criminal case was opened in Orenburg under Article 282.2 (2) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation against Nikolai Zhugin. For reading the Bible with friends, he is charged with "participation in the activities of an extremist organization." What is really known about this supposedly dangerous criminal?

Nikolay Zhugin was born in the village of Terentyevka, Karabalyk district of Kazakhstan in 1976, a gas electric welder by profession. As a child, he liked to spend time in the village, went in for sports. He has an elder brother and sister. Nikolai's father died twenty years ago from the effects of radiation - he was the liquidator of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

Since the mid-1990s, Nikolay has been a deeply religious person. From the Bible, he learned that physical laws have a lawgiver, God, and Bible prophecies are always fulfilled.

For many years, Nikolay has been married to Galina. Although she does not share her husband's religious beliefs, she is a happy family that is raising a son and a daughter. Not so long ago, my son graduated from school with a red certificate. The whole family loves to spend time in nature with friends, fishing.

Nikolay's relatives cannot understand why he is being persecuted. "Until recent events, I did not understand how my Orthodox relatives feel about the truth, but when the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia began, I saw that they were all sincerely worried about me, my family and my future," he says.

Case History

In May 2018, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case against Vladimir Kochnev, Vladislav Kolbanov, Pavel Lekontsev, Sergey Logunov and Nikolay Zhugin. Believers from Orenburg were accused of organizing and financing an extremist organization’s activities and participating in it because of friendly meetings in a café. After the searches, three men were released on recognizance not to leave, and two were detained. Kochnev spent 76 days in pre-trial detention and 72 days under house arrest, while Kolbanov spent 149 days under house arrest. In December 2019, the case went to court, but a month later it was returned to the prosecutor’s office due to the vague nature of the charges. The retrial of the case by another judge began in February 2021. The accusation is based on the testimony of the agent V. Yudin. In August 2023, the judge sentenced the believers to suspended sentences: Logunov and Zhugin — to two and a half years, Kochnev — to two years and eight months, Lekontsev — to three years, and Kolbanov — to three and a half years. The appellate court upheld the verdict.