Bishop NIKOLAI ULITIN, The New Generation Church (Krasnodar Krai, Russia)

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Bishop Nikolai Ulitin

Christian preacher and bishop of the southern region of New Generation churches in Krasnodar Krai, 53 years old. He ministered in the stanitsa of Poltava, Krasnodar Krai, together with his wife. They have six children. Every year he preached at the young Christians’ conference on the Black Sea coast.

The persecution was provoked by a pastoral conference in Ramenskoye, near Moscow, in which, apart from clergy from Russia, a pastor from the Ukrainian New Generation church participated. Earlier, being accused of supporting the Ukrainian Azov regiment, the New Generation church was named “undesirable” on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Security forces arrived at the event attended by about 150 people. The believers were forced to lie face down on the floor. Later, administrative protocols were drawn up against them based on participation in the activities of an “undesirable” organisation. Among others, as participants in this conference, Yugov and Ulitin were fined.

During an inspection, investigators discovered that the bishop was involved in the activities of the Ukrainian New Generation church, which is recognized in Russia as undesirable. A criminal case was brought against him under Part 3 of Art. 284.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Organising the activities of a foreign or international non-governmental organization, the activities of which have been recognized as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation).

On 14 August 2022, police searched various branches of the New Generation church.

On the morning of 14 August, Ulitin was detained at the family home. During a search, a Ukrainian passport and an «underground rehabilitation centre for alcoholics and drug addicts» were found. The bishop was taken to Moscow and arrested for two months.

On 18 July 2023, Ulitin and the head of the New Generation, Svyatoslav Yugov, were sentenced to 3.5 years in a penal colony. They are serving their sentences in one of the penal colonies in the Komi Republic.

According to Russian media, Ulitin and Yugov “forced believers to transfer property to the church, and most of the donations were sent to Ukrainian nationalists. In addition, adherents of the sect called for the overthrow of the government.” Also, ‘extremist’ literature, a Ukrainian passport and currency were found in Yugov’s flat and Ulitin’s country house.

On 14 October 2023, a court hearing heard the pastors’ appeal. Their lawyers insisted that the New Generation organisation, an umbrella for Pentecostal churches, was currently registered in the Russian Federation independently from the Ukrainian one. Consequently, the pastors’ fault consisted only of communication with a pastor from Ukraine. A lawyer asked the court to take into account that both clergy have families and children. Ulitin and Yugov ultimately repented and asked to commute their sentence. The court refused to appeal for both.