"A Russian Martyr, Vasilyevich Moiseyev"

Chapter 7--An Appeal for Justice

In their desperate attempt to obtain justice, the parents and relatives of Ivan Moiseyev, apparently gave up early on trying to cope with the stubborn reticence of the local military unit at Kerch. In a move that seems startling in the totalitarian Soviet state, they sent their appeal for justice to the very top officials of the government, with copies directed to various notables both in and out of the USSR.

The documents display the lack of organization and polish one would expect from a Russian peasant family, as well as a poignant sense of frustration and futility, almost as if they knew that their efforts would be in vain:


The Minister of the Armed Forces in the USSR, A. A. Gretshko

The General Secetary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the USSR, L.I. Brezhnev


The General Secretary of the United Nations, K. Waldheim

The International Committee for Human Rights

The President of the Academy of Science in the USSR, M. B. Keldyish

The Chairman of the Council of Authors in the USSR


The ECB Church Council of the USSR

The Council of Relatives of ECB Prisoners in the USSR

All Concerned Christians


The family of Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev, tortured and murdered for his faith while serving in the Soviet Army.

We, the parents of Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev, ask the following:

1. That a committee of medical experts be sent immediately to conduct an autopsy on the mutilated body of our son.

2. That an investigation be made to find the criminals who murdered our son.

3. That a group of believing Christian doctors be allowed to accompany the medical committee in its autopsy.

4. That we be given at least four days' notice of the arrival of the committee.

"We Christian parents still have four sons younger than Ivan who have not yet served in the army. As long as the murderers have not been found, the case not investigated and a reasonable assurance of the safety of our believing sons in the army not given, we will not send our four sons into such service.

"To this request we enclose the following:

1. Documents from witnesses

2. Copy of certificate of death

3. Photographs of the body will be handed over to the committee of experts when it arrives.

Respectfully yours,


V. T. Moiseyev

I. K. Moiseyev

V. V. Moiseyev

P. V. Moiseyev

N. V. Moiseyev

Please reply to:

The city of Volontirovka

Suvorov Distrtict

Moldavian SSR

The document of the witness, cited in (1) above, reads as follows:


"We, the undersigned, testify that the received body of Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev, soldier serving in military unit 61968-T does not correspond to certificate of death #286064 IAP, stating '...caused by drowning.' We certify this with photographs and facts: the heart is pierced six times, feet and head bear marks from heavy blows and burns on the chest."

Witnesses, citizens of Volontirovka, signing.

V.T. Moiseyev

I.K. Moiseyev

(a total of 23 signatures)

CHAPTER 8--A Letter to the World

The final document comprising the account of the death of Ivan Moiseyev was an open letter from the ECB Council of Relatives, dated August 1972. It apparently served as a 'cover letter' for the entire collection of documents smuggled out of the USSR and is addressed primarily to Christians in the free world:

"Dear brothers and sisters:

"'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.' (Ps. 116:15). Even more precious to Him is the martyrdom of one who has faithfully witnessed about Christ.

"We have handed over extensive material about this young Christian man's martyrdom. It includes documents, photos, letters, tape recordings and eyewitness accounts.

"With great pain we pass on this terrifying example of injustice and capriciousness. It is a repetition of what happened to our brother Nikolai Chmara with the exception that it did not happen in the prison of Barnaul but within the ranks of the Soviet Army.

"The information we pass on does not have the purpose of arousing indignation against those who persecute the Church of Christ in our country or those atheists who support them, but first of all to call them to repent, and that they may understand that they will inevitably be held responsible by the righteous Judge, who will demand from them an accounting of all the innocent blood which has been shed in our country and who will judge them according to their works [this statement ought to put chills into the secular humanists and atheists and Christ haters in the U.S. who are are using the courts, the legislatures, the media, the film industry, the colleges, universities, and public schools, books, articles, talk shows, the legal arms of atheistical organizations such as the ACLU and Christians United for the Separation of Church and State, persecuting Christians and anything Christian in our country, as a careful record is being kept of their acts and they will also be held to account for the millions of the unborn and lost and twisted lives of other people who have suffered and died due to their policies, just as the Soviet authorities will be held to account before Christ the Judge in eternity for the persecution and murder of Ivan--Editor, The Emmaus Walk].

"Secondly, the Council of Relatives of ECB Prisoners, together with the parents of Ivan Moiseyev wish and ask God that many children of God and all Christian young people, as a result of Ivan's martyrdom, might be filled with His Spirit for a more self-sacrificing testimony that Jesus Christ is the Saviour and the answer for a world heading toward destruction.

"The coming of the Lord is near. He has been witnessing about this in revelation which brother Ivan received during his last days and also through many other brothers. The number of those who are to be murdered for the sake of God's Word must be completed. Therefore he had to walk this path. In this way the testimony which this faithful child of God made before his death had great power, not only because of the Holy Spirit but because of the blood this marytr shed.

"Certain facts about the well-planned murder of our brother Ivan are concealed from us. But to God nothing is covered that will not be revealed.

"We believe that God in the near future will reveal everything to us which can serve to glorify His name and save those souls who were witnesses to the murder of the young preacher Ivan Moiseyev. This is a basic law in the spiritual battle; the death of the first martyr, Stephen, had a harvest of a hundredfold for the Kingdom of God, because it aroused the persecutor Saul to a self-sacrificing service for Christ.

"As brother Ivan returned to his unit after his last visit home, he agreed to have his picture taken. He then said, 'You can have this picture as a memory. I will never have an opportunity to see it myself.' Now he looks at us, this courageous Christian soldier, from a picture taken eight days before his death. Beside it is the picture of a dead body with the marks of the cruel torture he endured as his tormentors tried to tear out the heart that had unshakable faith in Almighty God. But praise God, they did not succeed. They could only torment the body but could not damage the soul. He died for Christ.

"Jesus Christ was crucified and through his death he defeated the world and our persecutors.

"They can only be cleansed from their shame through tears of repentance and the blood of Christ.

"May the eyes and hearts of many Christians be opened to see this victory.

"May the Holy Spirit through this inspire many to great achievements for the Gospel."


Council of Relatives of ECB Prisoners

August 1972

Chapter 9--Epilogue

It would seem that the significance of the story of Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev is severalfold.

To begin with the least significant, it shows the changing nature of modern Soviet society. In a time when political and intellectual dissent in the USSR is becoming more commonplace and outspoken, it is significant that the present account indicates the exact same trend in religious matters as well. The numerous Christian congregations in the various towns, the outspokenness of the soldiers in their support of their ill-fated compatriot and the fact that the parents and the ECB Council of Relatives went directly to the top of the Soviet hierarchy in their protest--all this shows that an easing of religious suppression seems to be taking place right along with the general thaw, notwithstanding this brave martyr's cruel and arbitrary death.

It is also evident that God is moving in Soviet society as never before, as more and more Russian citizens join the body of Christ. God has apparently not found the Iron Curtain an insurmountable obstacle, notwithstanding the atheistic bravura of communist propaganda.

Of greater significance in this poignant drama is its highlighting effect upon the spiritual condition of the church in the free world.

While Christians in the Soviet Union and other communist countries bravely go to their deaths or face hideous tortures for the faith, their counterparts in the western world often shrink from speaking of Christ even in polite company for fear of ridicule or ostracism. While brothers in the scattered congregations of the Russian hinterland risk exposure to send their love and greetings to each other, their western friends spend much of their time haranguing and condemning each other over theological trivia. And while the simple Russian believers spread their faith in spontaneity and joy, the free-world cohorts often use neatly trimmed systems of "canned" evangelism to take the reality and involvement out of witnessing.

If anything, the story of Ivan Moiseyev should make those of us in the free world aware of the great responsibility we have to use our freedoms wisely to spread the Gospel, lest everything which we so blithely take for granted be taken from us.

But perhaps of greatest significance is what it shows about the life and person of one simple, committed believer. Little could be added to the testimony of the ECB Council of Relatives who wrote such an eloquent epitaph in their letter to the world. Perhaps we can turn only to the Word of God itself for an adequate description of this courageous young martyr:

" faithful one, who was killed." Rev. 2:13

If you are interested in further information about the Christians in the communist world, or wish to receive our bi-monthly news letter, please send your request to Danish European Mission, Hoje Gladsaxe 36, 2860 Soborg, Denmark, Europe.

This account is now finished in its entirety. It is a blessing to read and to share with the world now which has access to the Internet. I do not know if this account is on the Internet, or has been reprinted. This account is given freely, as it was freely received. But seek to take the account to heart, we ask you, as our reward for doing this labor of love. May God be glorified.--Ed., The Emmaus Walk, Feb. 8, 2007

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