Imprisoned Russian anti-war activist Darya Polyudova has been placed in punitive solitary confinement after guards said they found a razor-blade in her belongings, which is considered a major violation at the penal colony in the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria where she is incarcerated. Polyudova’s mother told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Aug. 1 that her daughter said guards had planted the blade in her belongings to frame her, adding that the activist is starting a hunger strike to protest the move.
Polyudova, affiliated with the Left Resistance dissident network, was sentenced to nine years in prison in December on “extremism” and “separatism” charges related to her nonviolent opposition to the Russian war in Ukraine. The charges stemmed from three posts she published on VKontakte (VK), Russia’s most popular social network.
All three posts had to do with Ukraine. The one that triggered the charge of “incitement to separatism” was not even written by her. It was a flippant comment by another user, which Polyudova shared on her page, about supposed demands by ethnic Ukrainians in Russia’s Krasnodar region to be incorporated into Ukraine. The second post, deemed by authorities a “public call to extremist activities,” was a photo of Polyudova with a poster that said, “No war in Ukraine but a revolution in Russia!” The post did not include any advocacy of violence. The third post stated that Russians needed to follow the example of Ukraine’s Maidan activists, take to the streets, and bring down the government. (RFE/RL, HRW, No To War)
See our last report on the crackdown on dissent in Russia.