Press release from the People and Peace Network 12 December 2023
War opponent Boris Kagarlitsky is unexpectedly released in Russia
Today, the Russian war opponent Boris Kagarlitsky was released from prison in the trial in Suktyvkar. Unlike many other prominent opponents of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Kagarlitsky did not flee the country but continued his advocacy work from Moscow. On July 25, he was arrested by the authorities on behalf of the FSB and taken to the remote Republic of Komi and its capital Sykthyvkar.
Kagarlitsky was accused of “justifying terrorism” in a video on YouTube channel Rabkor where he talked about the first explosion on the Crimean Bridge in the summer of 2022. This is according to Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code on “justifying” terrorism committed “using mass media or electronic networks or information and telecommunications networks, including the Internet”, for which the penalty can be a fine of up to one million rubles or imprisonment from 5 to 7 years. The prosecutor requested 5.5 years in prison.
The case was based on a report written by Leonid Krasnoperov, a member of the City Duma of United Russia in the city of Ukhta in the Republic of Komi. Rabkor wrote in a Telegram post when the trial started yesterday, December 11: “Despite the well-known slowness of the Russian judiciary, which is capable of considering any case for years, it seems that the trial of Kagarlitsky could be concluded as early as tomorrow.”
Boris Kagarlitsky was able to leave the court today as a free man. He is, however, sentenced not to edit any media or website for two years and a fine of 6,000 dollars. “Miracles do happen even in the darkest times of political persecution, especially when backed by widespread material, moral and political support from around the world!” writes Rabkor in a comment. “The verdict opens the way for the cooperation between the climate and peace movement against oligarchs in East and West that Boris Kagarlitskij works for,” says Tord Björk, convener of the People and Peace Network’s communication and action group. Both Kagarlitsky and the Russian environmental movement continue to be labeled as foreign agents, but both the verdict and continued environmental protests in Russia, which have been particularly strong in Suktyvkar, show the hope of bringing together the fight for peace and the environment.
The result of the trial is surprising in a time of increased repression of all voices of peace. The success may be due to several forces working together in the campaign for Kagarlitsky as an important symbol of war resistance. One was a broad rally campaigning for the release of Boris and all political prisoners in Russia. That Kagarlitsky is the international best-known left-wing intellectual who was imprisoned both during the Soviet era, Yeltsin and Putin were grateful to highlight as a symbol. Another force was academics who cooperated with Kagarlitsky but are not as critical of Russia’s current actions as he is. One of these is Radika Desai, who raised the issue of Kagarlitsky in a conversation with Putin during a Valdai meeting. A third line has been the peace and environmental movement that stood up both for Kagarlitsky and conscientious objectors in both Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, something that opposition voices in Russia saw as a tactic that makes it easier for them to defend themselves.
In Sweden, the People and Peace Network has supported Kagarlitskij in a statement. At the Peace Fair in November arranged by i.a. Artists for Peace, Friends of the Earth, Women for Peace and the People and Peace Network, the issue of repression against war opponents in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the EU was an important theme. The People and Peace network has also participated in the peace movement’s international campaign for Boris Kagarlitskij and other war opponents in collaboration with social forum forces both from Russia and EU countries and the International Peace Bureau.
The people and peace network calls for continued support to Boris Kagarlitskij for payment of fines and to enable Rabkor to continue its operations. Donation Alerts (https://www.donationalerts.com/r/rabkortv) We also call for support for other political prisoners in Russia and work against repression in the East and West.
Tord Björk for the People and Peace Network communication and action group (Attached: )
International campaign for Kagarlitsky: https://freeboris.info
The statement of the People and Peace Network in Swedish: https://folkochfred.wordpress.com/2023/09/17/stoppa-repressionen-i-ost-och-vast/
On the International Peace Bureau website:
About the environmental struggle in Suktyvkar and the Republic of Komi:
Tord Björk email: email@example.com, skype: tordbjork, tel: +46 (0)722 15 16 90, address: Kyrkängsbacken 8, 14135 Huddinge, Sweden