Solitary confinement for Russian anti-war dissident

Darya Polyudova

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.

Photo: Polyudova with sign calling for release of Ukrainians detained by Russia, including filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and Crimean anarchist Oleksandr Kolchenko. Via RFE/RL

  1. Russian anti-war activist gets six years

    A court in St. Petersburg sentenced activist Olga Smirnova of the group Peaceful Resistance to six years imprisonment for spreading “false” information about the Russian military, the Net Freedoms Project reported on Aug. 30. The grounds for the case was a post on social network VK that called the Ukraine war a “crime against humanity” and compared the “war crimes of the Russian aggressors” to the “Nazi atrocities during WWII.” (Novaya Gazeta)

  2. Russian court dismisses challenge to censorship laws

    UN experts condemned Aug. 28 the Russian Constitutional Court’s decision to dismiss challenges to the constitutionality of recently enacted laws that criminalize any public act seeking to “discredit” Russia’s armed forces. In the wake of the Ukraine invasion, these new laws have been used by Russian authorities to arrest over 20,000 people for speaking out against the war. (Jurist)

  3. Activist detained in Red Square for holding Ukrainian flag

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