Updated: July 19, 2024
Name: Zinchenko Maksim Viktorovich
Date of Birth: April 9, 1992
Current status: convicted person
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation: 282.2 (2)
Time spent in prison: 2 day in a temporary detention facility, 422 day Under house arrest
Current restrictions: recognizance agreement
Sentence: punishment in the form of 2 years of imprisonment, punishment in the form of imprisonment shall be replaced by forced labor for 2 years, with restriction of liberty for a period of 1 year

Biography

In May 2023, early in the morning, more than 10 people, 5 of whom were armed, broke into Maksim and Karina Zinchenko's home with a search. Crimean law enforcement officers initiated a criminal case against the head of the family for his religious beliefs.

Maksim was born in 1992 in the town of Stakhanov (Ukraine). He has a younger brother. Their father works at a construction site and their mother as a waitress in a sanatorium.

Maksim was into football as a child. After school, he graduated from college with a red diploma as a gas and electric welder with an admission to high-risk work. Maksim worked at a construction site. He lived in Yevpatoria, Feodosia, and after his criminal case was initiated, he was forced to move to Sevastopol.

Since childhood, Maksim liked to read the Bible — the love for this book was instilled by his parents. Over time, the gained knowledge motivated him to become one of Jehovah's Witnesses. In 2011, because of his peaceful beliefs, Maksim served alternative civilian service instead of military service, working as a janitor in a tram depot,.

Maksim met his future wife, Karina, through friends. His wife shares his views on life. The two got married in May 2015. Karina loves to read books, admires nature, especially sunrises and sunsets and does not miss the opportunity to take beautiful photos. Maksim still loves sports, especially football. Together with his wife and friends, he enjoys spending time in nature in mountains, taking pictures and editing videos.

The criminal case disrupted the family's plans for the near future. They spent their eighth wedding anniversary under house arrest of the head of the family. His wife supports Maksim in all his difficulties and hardships.

Zinchenko's relatives, including those who do not share their beliefs, and also their friends are outraged by the persecution of the peaceful believers.

Case History

In May 2023, in Feodosia, officers of the Investigative Committee and the FSB searched the apartment of the Zinchenko couple, who had been under surveillance since 2020. A criminal case was initiated against Maksim Zinchenko. The investigation deemed reading and discussing Bible verses with friends to be participating in the activity of an extremist organization. Two days after the search and interrogation, the believer was placed under house arrest. The charges were based on video recordings of four meetings for worship of Jehovah’s Witnesses made by undercover FSB agents, as well as the testimony of a secret witness. In June 2023, the case went to court. In February 2024, the court found Zinchenko guilty and sentenced him to two years of forced labor.