experience of Vladimir Nikolaevsky
pgs 140 & 141 of the 2008 Yearbook
"I graduated from the Moscow Institute of Engineering Communication in 1932. Until 1941, I worked as an engineer and a chief architect in a Moscow institute. I personally designed special devices for warships. I was taken into custody during the war and was eventually sent to a camp in central Kazakhstan, in the village of Kengir.
A group of Jehovah's Witnesses there caught my attention. They were different from the other prisoners. There were about 80 of them among some 14,000 prisoners in three camp wards. The contrast between the Witnesses and the rest was especially evident during the Kengir uprising of 1954. Jehovah's Witnesses did not participate in the rebellion and even refused to prepare for it. They showed amazing calmness and tried to explain their stand to the other prisoners. I was so taken with their behavior that I asked them about their beliefs. Some time later, I dedicated my life to Jehovah. In the camp, the faith of the Witnesses was tested, especially when the uprising was crushed by armed forces with tanks.
One time I was told that two generals had arrived from Moscow especially for the purpose of meeting with me. One of them said to me: "Vladimir, enough of this. You are a military engineer and architect. Your country needs you. We want you to return to the work you were doing. How could you possibly enjoy being around uneducated people?"
"There is nothing for me to brag about," I answered. "All of man's talents are from God. Those who are obedient to him will enjoy the Thousand Year Reign of Christ's Kingdom, where mankind will become perfect and educated in the real sense of the word."
I was very happy that I had a chance to talk with those generals about the truth. Several times they implored me to take up my former work. However, I asked them not to trouble me anymore but to leave me in the camp with my spiritual brothers, whom I loved very much.
In 1955 my sentence was annulled. I began to work in an architectural agency not connected with the military. Through my efforts to sow seeds of truth abundantly, I began a Bible study with the family of one engineer. Soon he and all his family became Jehovah's Witnesses and zealous preachers. But the KGB was watching, and during a search they found Bible literature in my apartment. The court sentenced me to 25 years of imprisonment, and I was sent to a Siberian labor camp in the city of Krasnoyarsk. I was transferred many times, to various camps and prisons. Once, I calculated that I had made 256 of such transfers over the course of my life."