Updated: June 12, 2024
Name: Antonov Denis Nikolayevich
Date of Birth: December 17, 1976
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 145 day in a pre-trial detention, 513 day in prison
Sentence: punishment in the form of 2 years of imprisonment in a penal colony of general regime, with restriction of liberty for 6 months
Currently held in: Penal Colony No. 12 in the Republic of Mordovia
Address for correspondence: Antonov, Denis Nikolayevich, born 1976, IK No 12 in The Republic of Mordovia, ul. Novaya, 2, pos. Molochnitsa, Zubovo-Polyanskiy r-n, The Republic of Mordovia, Russia, 431101

Letters of support can be sent by regular mail or through the «zonatelecom».

Parcels and parcels should not be sent because of the limit on their number per year.

Note: discussing topics related to criminal prosecution is not allowed in letters; languages other than Russian will not pass.


In 2019, several residents of Saransk, including Denis Antonov, were prosecuted for their faith. Law enforcers considered the conversations about the Bible to be participation in the activities of an extremist organization.

Denis was born in 1976 in Syktyvkar (Komi Republic). The family moved frequently, as his father worked as an agronomist and helped on collective farms in the north. Denis had a brother who is no longer alive.

After school, Denis entered a technical school in Vorkuta, where he received a degree in mining electromechanics. For about five years he worked at the mine as an underground electrician, then as a janitor, a building maintenance worker, and most recently as a house foreman. His father instilled in Denis a love of photography, macro photography and to this day his hobby along with playing chess.

From his youth, Denis asked questions about God, tried to read religious literature and the Bible, but did not understand much in it. While serving in the military, he corresponded with a friend who taught him about Bible teachings. The consistency of the Bible and the fact that God has a name touched Denis's heart.

In 2015, Denis married Olga, whom he had known since 1996. She worked as a cook in a coal factory and in a kindergarten. The couple moved from Vorkuta to Saransk to take care of Olga's elderly mother, who was left alone after her husband's death. During the search, the authorities confiscated their employment records and other documents, which forced Denis to close his file. Spouses are forced to provide for themselves, interrupted by odd jobs.

Olga's relatives are worried about the possible outcome of the criminal prosecution of these peaceful people. They hope that the authorities will sort everything out and allow the spouses to finally get a normal job and return to a quiet life.

Case History

In February 2019, in Saransk, the FSB opened a criminal case against three believers on suspicion of extremism. After mass searches, Vladimir Atryakhin, the father of two young children, as well as Alexander Shevchuk and Georgy Nikulin ended up in a pre-trial detention center, where they spent from 2 to 5 months. Later, 3 more defendants appeared in the case - Alexander Korolev, Elena Nikulina and Denis Antonov. The case went to court in May 2021. The defense managed to show the court several times that the declassified witness Vlasov was giving false testimony. In August 2022, the believers were convicted: Vladimir Atryakhin was sentenced to 6 years, Georgy and Yelena Nikulin — 4 years and 2 months each, and Aleksandr Shevchuk, Aleksandr Korolev and Denis Antonov — 2 years in prison. The appeal upheld the verdict. In November 2023, Aleksandr Shevchuk was released from the colony.