Updated: June 20, 2024
Name: Gurskiy Valeriy Ivanovich
Date of Birth: December 23, 1963
Current status: defendant
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (1)
Time spent in prison: 1 day in a temporary detention facility, 142 day in a pre-trial detention
Current restrictions: prohibition of certain actions


On July 13, 2020 law enforcement agencies of Voronezh region conducted a large-scale special operation against Jehovah's Witnesses. Among the victims of the actions of operatives - a native of Voronezh Valeriy Gursky, who was sent to the detention center after the search. What do we know about him?

Valeriy was born in 1963. He grew up in a family with two brothers, the younger and the older ones. In his childhood he was interested in athletics, studied birds as well. He graduated from aviation school. Then worked mainly in the repair sphere: as a room decorator, sawmill operator, plastic windows assembler.

In his spare time he grows grapes and makes wine, collects mushrooms, gardening. Still he is fascinated by bird life. Valeriy often helps his neighbors and friends with the repair of faulty devices. "If something is broken, go to Valeriy. He will gladly fix it, and the thing will be like new," his friends say.

In the 90s Valeriy worked as a security guard, and he had a lot of time to read. When all the art books were finished, he found a book about God. After reading it overnight, he realized that he had learned something important and began to devote time to the Bible and trust its advice.

In 1988, Valeriy met his future wife, Tatiana. They have been happily married for over 30 years. Tatyana is a vegetable agronomist by education. Now she does not work, is on the second disability group. The spouses apply biblical principles in their life and feel their practical value. In particular, advice from the Bible has helped them raise children decent people.

The sudden onset of criminal proceedings was a great stress for the Gursky family and their loved ones. Everyone who knows Valeriy is very worried about the unfair treatment of such a soulful and meek man.

Case History

In one day, July 13, 2020, 110 searches were carried out in 7 settlements of the Voronezh Region — a record-breaking operation against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia. Five believers reported torture by the security forces. Ten men aged 24 to 56 years were charged by the Investigative Committee with organizing extremist activities and sent them to prison, where most of them were held for almost 5 months. The events in Voronezh caused a wide public outcry: the EU countries, as well as the United Kingdom and the United States, expressed regret and bewilderment in connection with the incident. The believers themselves do not admit guilt in extremism and emphasize that, as Christians, they respect the authorities and peacefully practice their religion in accordance with constitutional law. Consideration of the case in court began in December 2021. Believers face up to 10 years in prison.