March 18, 2002
The questioning of the witnesses for the defense continued today. Valentina Gavrilovna Arsenkina answered the court’s questions. She explained that she works at the “Salyut” Cultural Palace as a choreographer for the Russian song ensemble “Vesnyanochka.” In 1999, her ensemble represented the various cultures of the Russian people at an international festival of folklore ensembles in Germany.
In 1993, Valentina Arsenkina was introduced to the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses for the first time by one of her students. She was very surprised to see God’s name in the Bible. She began to ask questions to which she could not find answers in the Orthodox literature. Having received Bible-based answers to her questions, she decided that she wanted to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and was later baptized in 1994.
Her husband is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but he respects his wife’s religious views. He occasionally attends the religious meetings along with his wife and daughter, and he reads the religious literature. Her 15-year-old daughter Irina studies at a special English language school, and shares her mother’s beliefs fully. When she was 10 years old, she, with the consent of her father, was baptized.
Valentina Arsenkina considers that her study and application of Bible counsel has had a positive influence on her family as a whole, and particularly on her relationship with her husband. She feels that she has become wiser and is no longer overly critical of her husband.
In answer to the court’s question, “Have you made an appeal to the authorities regarding this trial?” Valentina said that she signed the petition addressed to the President, the General Prosecutor and Judge Dubinskaya, asking that an end be put to this judicial prosecution against the Moscow organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Three more witnesses for the defense have been invited for the continuation of the court session on March 19 at 12 p.m.