Annual Report Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2023/24

For the second year, this report is necessarily dominated by the war in Ukraine, with a large part of the space being taken up with reports of developments in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and the situation of refugees from these countries. EBCO continues working on the ObjectWarCampaign, which was jointly launched by Connection e.V., War Resisters’International (WRI), International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), and European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO).

This Annual Report covers developments from 2023 up to the start of April 2024.

Continue reading “Annual Report Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2023/24”

War opponent Boris Kagarlitsky is unexpectedly released in Russia

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 ( 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:

The statement of the People and Peace Network in Swedish:

On the International Peace Bureau website:
About the environmental struggle in Suktyvkar and the Republic of Komi:

Tord Björk email:, skype: tordbjork, tel: +46 (0)722 15 16 90, address: Kyrkängsbacken 8, 14135 Huddinge, Sweden

Stop the Repression in the East and the West

The people and peace network calls on all people’s movements and parties to unitedly stand up against the persecution of independent voices of peace in East and West. Repression is increasing not only in Russia and Belarus, but also in Ukraine and also in EU countries.

This week it will be decided what punishment Boris Kagarlitsky will receive in Russia. During his detention, he was put on a list of terrorists and extremists by the authorities. He is accused by Russian security services of justifying terrorism for his war resistance.

In Kiev, Ukrainian security services boast of having stopped the “vicious Russian propagandist Yurii Sheliazhenko”. He is accused of justifying Russian aggression in a statement in which he explicitly condemns the Russian war of aggression.

In Lithuania, Belarusian pacifist Olga Karach risks being deported to Belarus with the threat of being imprisoned there. The regime-critical opponents and dissidents from Russia and Belarus who were recently well received are now increasingly seen as a national security threat in a xenophobic wave that has gained increasing political support in Lithuania.

In Sweden, pacifist organizations are subjected to slander in order to deprive them of public support and government grants. Strong movements that oppose the thrusts of militarism must be pushed out of the public conversation.

Regardless of our stance on the need for a ceasefire or sending arms to Ukraine, popular opposition to war is a factor of decisive importance. The support for non-armors and war opponents has been and is important no matter how much NATO propaganda says that the only way to peace is arms. Such support must be universal, otherwise it is has no value.

We call for joint action against oppression in East and West! Start by signing protests in support of Boris, Yurii and Olga! Spread the word and participate in uniting all against oppression wherever it occurs.


Adopted by the IPB 6 October 2023

EBCO Annual Report on Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2022/23

Press Release posted on 12th May, 2023


The European Bureau for Conscientious Objection published its Annual Report on Conscientious Objection to Military Service in Europe 2022/23, covering the region of Council of Europe (CoE) as well as Russia (former CoE member state) and Belarus (candidate CoE member state).

Overall, the human right to conscientious objection to military service was higher in the European agenda in 2022, as a result of the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the courageous conscientious objectors and pacifists.

The continuation of the war itself constitutes a tragic failure of diplomacy and politicians, as well as a bloody victory of militarism and war profiteers. The military mobilisation and the prosecution of those who object the war constitutes a blatant violation of their fundamental human rights, as well as the indiscriminate European sanctions against all Russians, instead of granting Visas (type C and D) at least to those who object the war.
(EBCO’s President Alexia Tsouni)

Hopefully, remarkable efforts have been made, and more and more inspiring voices are calling for peace (voices for peace from civil society worldwide), including in the framework of the international #ObjectWarCampaign (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine: Protection and asylum for deserters and conscientious objectors to military service), jointly launched by the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection (EBCO), the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), War Resisters’ International (WRI), and Connection e.V..


Contact and interview requests:

Alexia Tsouni, EBCO President +30 6974461210, (English)
Sam Biesemans EBCO, (French, Dutch, Italian, English)

The INTERNATIONAL PEACE BUREAU wants to share this report, as those who refuse to kill and refuse to take part in violent means of conflict resolution are also contributing to peace.