Alexander Dolganov

Unjust Verdicts

In Tolyatti, Court Found Aleksandr Dolganov Guilty of Extremism.

Samara Region

On April 8, 2024, in the Avtozavodsky District Court of Tolyatti, the hearings in the case of 35-year-old Aleksandr Dolganov ended. In one session, Judge Anna Tokareva heard the closing arguments of the parties and the final statement of the defendant and immediately passed a sentence – 3 years of imprisonment.

The prosecution of the believer began in May 2023. Anatoliy Grekov, investigator of the Investigative Committee for the Samara Region, separated the case against Aleksandr from the criminal case against his fellow believer Aleksandr Chagan. For reading and discussing the Bible and Christian teachings, Dolganov was accused of participating in the activity of an extremist organization (Article 282.2(2) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). His home and those of other believers were searched. Dolganov was placed in a temporary detention facility, and then under house arrest. Aleksandr said: "Due to the ban on leaving the apartment, using a mobile phone, the Internet and mail, I lost the opportunity to provide for my family, therefore this responsobility became a burden for my wife."

After two months of investigation, Dolganov's case went to court. At the hearing, the prosecution presented a standard set of evidence: hidden video recordings of peaceful worship services made by an undercover agent, the testimony of a secret witness and a psycho-religious expert study. The defense stated that the latter is inadmissible evidence, since it was obtained in violation of the law; the specialists who performed it — Lenar Galiev and Kirill Kirushin from Naberezhnye Chelny State Pedagogical University — did not have the required education, and therefore, did not have the right to conduct the expert study.

Galiev and Kirushin had previously conducted expert studies in the cases of other Jehovah's Witnesses from Tolyatti, who also unsuccessfully asked the court to exclude these materials from their cases. The undercover agent, a woman, had also previously participated in lawsuits against other believers from Tolyatti. Testifying in the Dolganov case, she did not hide her negative attitude towards Jehovah's Witnesses on religious grounds, and also admitted that she did not personally know the defendant and could not accuse him of anything specific.

In his final statement, Aleksandr said: "I have never hidden and will never hide my faith in the living God. I enjoy learning about the Creator, acquiring knowledge from the Scriptures, and sharing what I've learned with others. The videos provided by the prosecution do not contain calls for violence, the overthrow of the constitutional order, disrespect toward government officials, or the breakup of families, because all this is alien to me and my friends."

In the Samara Region, 10 believers have faced criminal prosecution, most of them have already been sentenced to various forms of punishment for their religion.

The Case of Dolganov in Tolyatti

Case History
In May 2023, in Tolyatti, officers of the Investigative Committee and the FSB broke into and searched the homes of four families of believers. A criminal case was initiated against Aleksandr Dolganov for his faith. After interrogation, he was placed under house arrest for 85 days, and then he was banned from certain actions. In July 2023, the case went to court. The charges were based on the testimony of two witnesses who cooperated with the investigation. One of them, who secretly filmed the meetings for worship, does not know the defendant personally, but has a negative attitude toward Jehovah’s Witnesses. Also during the trial, it turned out that the specialists who conducted the psycho-religious expert study did not have the necessary qualifications. In April 2024, the court sentenced Aleksandr to 3 years imprisonment. He was taken into custody in the courtroom and placed in a detention center.

Persons in case

Criminal case

Samara Region
Court case number:
May 15, 2023
Current case stage:
verdict did not take effect
Central Interdistrict Investigation Department for the City of Tolyatti of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Samara Region
Articles of Criminal Code of Russian Federation:
282.2 (2)
Court case number:
1-72/2024 (1-978/2023)
Court of First Instance:
Автозаводской районный суд г. Тольятти.
Judge of the Court of First Instance:
Анна Токарева
Case History