Alexander Kireev was born in the Samara region of Russia. His mother is a housewife, his father an electrician. Alexander’s father spent a lot of time with him – he was very much involved in Alexander’s upbringing and was a real authority for Alexander.
None of Alexander’s immediate family had higher education, and he didn’t plan to pursue it either. Nevertheless, his father recommended that he study at a technical school, and Alexander studied motorcar construction for four years. He was one of the top students and was granted an internship at one of the Russian leading car factories.
Alexander’s grandmother was an Orthodox believer. She had given him a children’s Bible as a gift, but Alexander didn’t pay any attention to it. He was more influenced by his father, who was an atheist. But there was a contradiction within his father that Alexander noticed: “My father told me once, ‘A man should believe in something.’ Those words set me thinking.”
One day in 1993, Alexander was on a bus and heard a young man preaching. He became interested and started talking with him. The young man invited Alexander to his church, and Alexander soon started to go regularly. When he converted to Christianity, his family was very disturbed – especially with how suddenly it had happened. They reacted wildly: He was put under house arrest, and his mother even hired a psychologist to “help” him. Alexander’s relationships with his parents deteriorated and in 1994 he left his family. He was invited to Kasan (the capital of Tatarstan) to work in a church. He became involved with the youth ministry, preaching on buses and going door-to-door. Alexander remembers one day when he and his friends were taken to the police station for a few days. “We saw it as persecution for Christ,” he explains. “But those arrests happened because of our foolishness. Once we spent ten days at the police station. Our parents were informed about our behavior and location, and they came and brought us home.”
After his experience in Kasan, Alexander spent a few months at home, working as a watchman. Soon he moved to Saratov, where he became involved with some church activities, including an administrative ministry at the local church. “Some people at that church believed they should do nothing in their life, because God would take care of everything,” he says. “So they had quit their studies and jobs.” But Alexander didn’t share this idea, and he soon left for Moscow to take part in a conference organized by “The Word of Life.” He stayed in Moscow and studied at the Bible school there from 1996 to 1997.
In Moscow, Alexander tried to enter the Academy of Law, but didn’t succeed. Through his church, Alexander knew Vladimir Sokolov, who was a student at RACU at the time. Vladimir told Alexander all about RACU, and Alexander soon applied to the University. Today, Alexander says, “I praise the Lord that I didn’t enter the Academy of Law, but instead became a student at RACU. I know that I am going to become a leader in the future.”