This Thursday, 1st December, is Prisoners for Peace Day, a day to show solidarity with those activists who have been imprisoned for their work for peace and conscientious objectors imprisoned for their refusal to take up arms. See a list of those imprisoned for their peace activism and conscientious objection below.
Since February 2022 the Russian authorities have initiated more than 230 criminal cases against Russian citizens who opposed the so-called “special operation” in Ukraine. Most of these cases are filed for non-violent actions, classified as crimes, such as posts on social networks, peaceful protests, or distribution of anti-war stickers.
Below, you’ll find a number of activists who are imprisoned/fined or facing imprisonment for their peaceful resistance to the war in Ukraine. The list is taken from the website Black February, prepared by Russian activists. Please note some activists are not currently in prison but detained earlier in the year and facing further sentence. To find more information about each case, please visit http://blackfeb.ru/en.
To send your messages of solidarity to the Russian activists, write to email@example.com with the title 'Solidarity' and we'll deliver your messages to them.
If you're using Telegram, you can write your letter in English as a comment to the post: https://t.me/stoparmy/2173
- Aleksey Gorinov
Aleksey Gorinov is a Member of Council of the Krasnoselsky Municipal District in Moscow. He has been sentenced to 7 years in a regular security colony for “disseminating false information” during a work session. Mr. Gorinov has become the first accused in the “anti-war case” sentenced to a real term behind bars for spreading “false information about the Russian Army”.
Read more about Aleksey Gorinov’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/alexgen
- Irina Gen
Irina Gen is a school teacher from Penza. She is being accused of “dissemination of false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation motivated by hatred”. An educator with 20 years of experience, she get 5 years probation.
Read more about Irina’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/irinagen
- Petr Mylnikov
Petr Mylnikov is a civil activist from the town of Olovyanny (the Transbaikal Territories). He has been handed a 1,000,000 rouble fine for two publications, with the accusation of containing “false information about the Russian Army”.
Read more about Petr’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/petrmen
- Zaurbeck Zhambekov
Zaurbeck Zhambekov is a Nalchik resident and a father of two. Zaurbeck has been sentenced to two years of conditional imprisonment. Read more about Zaurbeck’s case here: http://blackfeb.ru/zaurbeken
- Altan Ochirov
Altan Ochirov is a blogger and an employee of the City Administration of Elista (the Republic of Kalmykia). He is facing up to 10 years in prison for “disseminating false information about the Russian Army”.
Read more about Altan’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/altanen
- Andrey Novashov
Andrey Novashov is a journalist from Kemerovskaya Oblast, writer for Sibreal.org* and Tayga.Info. For reposting an article about the Ukrainian "special operation", he faces up to three years in prison.
Read more about Andrey’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/andreynen
- Boris Romanov
Boris Romanov was engaged in civil and political activism in St. Petersburg. He created the official VK group for “Zhivaja biblioteka” (Living Library) – a civil initiative in St. Petersburg and one of the branches of the international project “Human Library”. Boris also ran for a seat in the city’s Legislative Assembly and was the admin of “Svetlanovskoye neighbours” – a VK group of Svetlanovskoye, a municipality in Vyborgsky District. It was his publication in “neighbours” that triggered the criminal investigation.
Read more about how you can support Boris here: http://blackfeb.ru/borisren
- Dmitry Ivanov
Dmitry Ivanov is a Moscow State University student, the author of the Telegram channel “Protest MSU (Moscow State University)”. He’s been under arrest since the end of April and is now awaiting trial for “spreading fake news about the Russian army”. February of 2023
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/dmitryen
- Dmitry Talantov
Dmitry Talantov is a human rights activist from Izhevsk and President of the Udmurt Republic Bar Association. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for publishing “fake” information.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/dmitryten
- Giraldo Enrique
Giraldo Enrique (full name Giraldo Sarái Alberto Enrique) is a Moscow entrepreneur originally from Columbia. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for “sending out false information about the Russian Army”.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/hiraldoen
- Ilya Yashin
Ilya Yashin is a Russian opposition politician and a friend and colleague of Boris Nemtsov assassinated in 2015. At the moment Ilya is facing up to 10 years in prison for “disseminating false information about the Russian Army”.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/ilyen
- Ioann Kurmoyarov
Ioann Kurmoyarov is a Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg priest; he has a religious YouTube channel. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for “disseminating false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/ioanken
- Irina Bystrova
Irina Bystrova is an artist from Petrozavodsk. She is facing up to 7 years in prison or compulsory psychiatric treatment for criticizing the “special operation”. Irina is currently awaiting the court decision.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/irinaben
- Irina Tolmacheva
Irina Tolmacheva is a Novosibirsk teacher and a member of the independent trade union called Teachers Alliance. For her comment in social media she is facing a million ruble fine and up to 3 years in prison under Article 207.3, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code ("spreading fake news about the Russian Armed Forces"). Irina is now under a written pledge not to leave and is awaiting a subpoena together with her lawyer.
Read more Irina’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/itinaten
- Mariia Ponomarenko
Mariia Ponomarenko is a journalist, author of the independent publication "RusNews". She was writing and shooting about corruption in Altai and Siberia. In the past, Maria has already been tried on misdemeanors of public demonstrations.
The St. Petersburg Court of October district arrested her for two months as a suspect in the “spreading fake news” case.
The reason for this was the report on the death of civilians in Mariupol during the period of “special operation”, which was posted though Telegram on the Channel «Цензуры нет» (No to Censorship), which was administered by Mariia.
The investigation has no evidence that it was Ponomarenko who wrote the post. But she is still facing up to 10 years in prison under Part 2 of Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/mariapen
- Marina Ovsyannikova
Marina Ovsyannikova is a former editor of Channel One, a Russian state-controlled TV channel. She gave up her job at the state-controlled media following the beginning of the “special operation”. Marina is facing up to 10 years in prison for an anti-war picket. The journalist is currently under house arrest.
Read more about Marina here: http://blackfeb.ru/marinaoen
- Mikhail Afanasyev
Mikhail Afanasyev is a journalist from Khakassia and chief editor of the publication “New Focus”. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for publishing an article on Rosgvardiya soldiers (the National Guard of the Russian Federation), who refused to participate in the “special operation”.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/michailaen
- Oleg Belousov
Oleg Belousov is a treasure hunter from St. Petersburg. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for publishing a “fake” commentary about the Russian Army.
- Olga Smirnova
Olga Smirnova is a St. Petersburg activist and a co-creator of the Peaceful Resistance group. On many occasions, together with her fellow activists, she organized peaceful protests. She is also a co-creator of Strategy 18, an initiative in support of the Crimean Tatars.
In early March, she published several critical posts in Peaceful Resistance’s public group in VKontakte.
For publishing posts against the “special military operation” Olga was charged with “dissemination of false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” (Art. 207.3), committed by a group of persons (sub-paragraph b), for personal gain (sub-paragraph g), and motivated by hatred (sub-paragraph d). The rest of the participants of Peaceful Resistance were released as witnesses.
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/olgasen
- Richard and Maria Rose
Richard and Maria Rose are a young couple from Kirov. The court is about to sentence them to 10 years in prison for “dissemination of false information about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” and make their 6-year-old son an orphan.
- Sasha Skochilenko
Artist and musician Sasha Skochilenko faces up to 10 years in prison for placing several anti-war stickers in a supermarket. Due to her health conditions, this term can become a death sentence to her.
There are multiple ways you can support Sasha. Visit here to see a number of campaigns in support of her: https://savesasha.tilda.ws/en
- Viktoria Petrova
Viktoria Petrova’s only “crime” was making an anti-war post on VKontakte in March this year which could have been seen only by a couple hundred of her friends on there at best. For that post Vika is now facing up to 10 years in prison under the Article 207.3 (“Public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”), paragraph “e” (“motivated by hatred”).
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/vikapen
- Vladimir Yefimov
Vladimir Yefimov is a journalist with 30 years of experience and Head of the Kamchatka branch of the Russian United Democratic Party “Yabloko”. He is facing up to 3 years in prison for “discrediting” the Russian army.
Read more about Vladimir here: http://blackfeb.ru/vladimirefen
- Vladislav Nikitenko
Vladislav Nikitenko is a human rights defender and a civil activist from Blagoveshchensk. Now he is facing a sentence of imprisonment for up to 3 years. For his critical posts in social networks about the “special military operation” he is accused of “defamation of the Russian Military Forces”. Read more about Vladislav here: http://blackfeb.ru/vladnicken
- Vladimir Zavyalov
Vladimir Zavyalov is a businessman from Smolensk arrested for replacing price tags in a supermarket. He faces up to 10 years in prison under part 2 of Article 207.3, paragraph "d": spreading fakes about the Russian army motivated by hatred.
Read more about Vladimir’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/vladimirzen
- Yevgeny Fokin
Yevgeny Fokin is a 17-year-old civil activist from Novosibirsk. He is facing up to 3 years in prison for “dissemination false information about the Russian Army”. Read more about Yevgeny’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/evgenyfen
- Yevgeny Kruglov
Yevgeny Kruglov is an archaeologist from Omsk who participated in expeditions of the Institute of the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Science. He is facing up to 3 years in prison for anti-war publications in VKontakte.
Read more about Yevgeny’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/evgenyken
- Little-known cases and proceedings
Many people who have the status of an accused in an “anti-war case” are neither journalists, nor human rights or civil activists. There are no petitions to support them, no telegram channels or articles in independent media. All that can be found about their criminal charges are a few scraps of news or posts in telegram channels. To see a number of those that Black February website could find out, see here: http://blackfeb.ru/listen
- The Kazan Case
A number of activists from Kazan are facing up to 10 years in prison based on criminal charges for “involving persons in mass riots” and “calls to terrorism”. Since March the Kazan law enforcement authorities have been putting pressure on those who publicly oppose the “special operation”. Some of them have faced criminal charges for “involving persons in mass riots” and “calls to terrorism”. See some of those activists below:
Activist of the Libertarian Party; detained on March 17, 2022 as a suspect in the “persuasion to participate in mass riots” case. In the beginning of July law enforcement authorities dropped the charges against him due to “lack of evidence of his involvement in the case”
Activist from Kazan, employee of the Kazan Federal University; Initially was a witness in the “persuasion to participate in mass riots” case. Because he refused to answer questions, law enforcement detained Andrey as a suspect. Then on March 20, 2022, a case was launched against him under article 205.1, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“calls to terrorism”) for his posts in the anti-war telegram channel. Andrey will remain in the detention center until August 18, 2022; under the new article he is facing up to 7 years in prison
Marina Ionova (Shoyetova)
Eco-activist from Kazan; detained on March 25, 2022 at the train station when she was coming back from a retreat in Moscow. She was charged in connection with the “persuasion to participate in mass riots” case. She was released after spending two days at a temporary holding facility with a notice of a mandatory (court) appearance
Detained on March 17, 2022 following a search; after spending two days at a temporary holding facility he was released along with other people detained in connection with the “Kazan case”; gone missing at the end of March; we have no further information about his whereabouts
Read more about the Kazan case here: http://blackfeb.ru/kazanden
- Bogdan Ziza
Bogdan Ziza is an artist from Yevpatoria (the Republic of Crimea). He is facing up to 5 years in prison for his alleged involvement in an attempt to set fire to the City Administration building.
On the night of May 16, 2022 unidentified individuals threw yellow-and-blue paint onto the Yevpatoria City Administration building. News media also reported that a Molotov cocktail had been tossed into the Mayor’s office. On the same day the law enforcement announced that they had detained a suspect, while a state-owned channel published a video of “the vandal expressing remorse”. The “vandal” turned out to be the 27-year-old photographer and 3D modeling artist Bogdan Ziza.
According to the Mayor’s office, Bogdan threw the paint onto the City Administration building and tried to set fire to the entrance door. In contrast, the Federal Security Service claims that the artist tossed a Molotov cocktail through the window, but it didn’t explode. First, the artist was fined and promised to be released, but then incendiary mixtures were allegedly found at his place. A few days later a criminal case was launched against Bogdan for “destruction of property” (article 167, part 1 of the RF Criminal Code).
Read more here: http://blackfeb.ru/bogdanzen
- Grigory Mumrikov
Grigory Mumrikov is an artist and composer from Moscow. He is facing up to 5 years in prison because of a thwarted anti-war protest planned by his friend Danila Tkachenko.
Read more about Grigory’s case here: http://blackfeb.ru/grigorymen
- Irina Dmitrieva (Nelson)
Irina Dmitrieva (Nelson) is a former lawyer and a mother of four from the town of Novaya Derevnya in the Novgorod region. In early 2022, on the eve of the “special operation”, Irina Dmitrieva wrote a few comments opposing the “special operation” and against sending Russian soldiers to Ukraine. These comments provided grounds for launching a criminal case against her under article 205.2, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“public calls to and justification of terrorism”). She is facing up to 7 years in prison.
Read more about Irina’s case here: http://blackfeb.ru/irinaden
- Kirill Martyushev
Kirill Martyushev is a student from Tyumen and a participant in anti-war protests. He is facing up to 5 years in prison for publishing an “extremist video”.
On the evening of February 24, 2022, in Tyumen, 22-year-old student Kirill Martyushev staged a single person anti-war protest against the “special operation”. On the same day he was detained by the police, and on March 1 he was fined 19,000 roubles by the court. The investigators believe that right after he was detained, the activist published a video in his telegram channel criticizing the police. This video provided grounds for launching a criminal case against him.
Read more about Kirill’s case here: http://blackfeb.ru/kirillmen
- Leonid Rybakov
Leonid Rybakov is an entrepreneur and civil activist from Tomsk. He is facing up to 5 years in a penal colony because of an anti-war post in VKontakte.
Read more about Leonid’s story here: http://blackfeb.ru/leonren
Because of the current war with Russia, Ukraine suspended the right to conscientious objection and closed the border for men between 18 and 60. Over 100,000 men have evaded war involvement in Ukraine and fled abroad. At the time of writing, there are known to be four conscientious objectors on probation because they refused to enlist. Besides, there are no known conscientious objectors in prison, but we suspect there are unreported cases.
Meanwhile, there are ongoing cases of two conscientious objectors, neither of whom is in prison at the moment. They face charges which might result in their imprisonment.
- Vitaliy Alekseinko
On 15 September 2022 conscientious objector Vitaliy Vasyliovych Alekseienko, was found guilty of ‘evasion of military service during mobilisation' and sentenced to a year in prison. Alekseienko filed an appeal in which he asked to be released with a probation term. The Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal has scheduled a hearing of his appeal on 17 November 2022.
Read here for more information and to send support letters for Vitaliy here: https://wri-irg.org/en/programmes/rrtk/co-action-alert/2022/ukraine-conscientious-objector-vitaliy-alekseinko-sentenced-0
- Ruslan Kotsaba
The trial of Ukrainian journalist, pacifist and conscientious objector Ruslan Kostaba continues. He’s being tried simply because he publicly expressed his pacifist views. Find more information about Ruslan’s case here: https://wri-irg.org/sites/default/files/public_files/2021-01/2020-12-07_the_ruslan_kotsaba_story-2.pdf
Follow Ukrainian Pacifist Movement on social media for further updates from Ukraine.
In September, four conscientious objectors from Israel, Shahar Schwartz (18-year-old), Einat Gerlitz (19), Evyatar Moshe Rubin (19), and Nave Shabtay Levin (18) have jointly declared their refusal to join the Israeli army, stating their refusal to take part in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Activists are currently serving time in prison. By the end of their final imprisonment, they'll have spent from 80 to 105 days in total in prison. See more information here: https://wri-irg.org/en/programmes/rrtk/co-action-alert/2022/israel-refusers-shahar-einat-evyatar-and-nave-imprisoned-again
Write to them, sharing your messages of solidarity using the link here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSedRdk8KZH1CG9UWBRiKf7RGcp2bowaN13KQruJAvh-Ook1aA/viewform
Alternatively, you can send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title "Solidarity with the 4".
You can also post your messages of solidarity with them on social media using the hashtag #SupportThe4.
All following prisoners are Jehovah’s Witnesses, imprisoned for conscientious objection to military service. Usually, they receive a first sentence of 12 months (but it can be up to 15 months) and a second sentence of 18 months (but it can be up to 24 months). Therefore, the total time spent is usually 30 months (but it can be up to 39 months).
They are imprisoned in:
Armed Forces Detention Barracks, 402 Lorong Kebasi (Mowbray Rd), 688791, Singapore
- Li Ming Alexander Aw, 20
Imprisoned for 12 months for conscientious objection. It’s Aw’s first term in prison.
- Ray Young Bong, 20
Imprisoned for 12 months for conscientious objection. It’s Bong’s first term in prison.
- Nicolaus We Ern Chong, 21
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Chong’s second term in prison.
- Aravind Ganesh, 25
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Ganesh’s second term in prison.
- Shao Qi Koh, 22
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Koh’s second term in prison.
- Yi Jie Lukas Lee, 20
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Lee’s second term in prison.
- Anjelo C. Magdaraog, 22
Imprisoned for 12 months for conscientious objection. It’s Magdaraog’s first term in prison.
- Junn Orville Yu Quiseo, 22
Already served time in prison for conscientious objection. Awaiting 2nd Court Martial.
- Edrenz James Ramos, 22
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Ramos’s second term in prison.
- Cole Dawson Flores Rinon, 19
Imprisoned for 12 months for conscientious objection. It’s Flores’s first term in prison.
- Raj s/o Rajamogn Rohan, 25
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Rohan’s second term in prison.
- Lie Hao Norman Sek, 22
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Sek’s second term in prison.
- Ming Jie Tan, 21
Already served time in prison for conscientious objection. Awaiting 2nd Court Martial.
- Won Kiat Yap, 21
Imprisoned for 30 months for conscientious objection in total. It’s Yap’s second term in prison.
- Shim, H. S., age 26,
Shim is a Jehovah Witness who was Imprisoned for 18 months for conscientious objection. Shim is being held in Cheonan Correctional Institution (Address: 127 Cheonilgo 1-gil, Seonggeo-eup, Seobuk-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea).
All following prisoners are Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are not charged or sentenced. Initially, and for many years, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have reported that these 4 individuals, and many others, were imprisoned for conscientious objection to military service. Since January 2021 the indication has changed to “undisclosed reason”.
They are imprisoned in Mai Serwa Prison.
- Bereket Habteyesus, age 20
Arrest date: 26 May 2014
- Henok Gebru, age 40
Arrest date: 24 January 2005
- Samuel Ghirmay, age 35
Arrest date: March 2009
- Yosief Fissehaie, age 35
Arrest date: October 2006