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 (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: tord.bjork@gmail.com, 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

Free Boris Kagarlitsky!

IPB strongly protests against the arrest of Boris Kagarlitsky in Russia, a worldwide renown sociologist and peace activist. We see the charge against him of “justifying terrorism,” as undermining common efforts for world peace. We call on the Russian authorities to drop their charges and release Boris Kagarlitsky! A call “Free Boris Kagarlitsky!” has been made which we endorse. You find the petition here: https://chng.it/BWHFLtLZWV 

Among the initiators were Reiner Braun, former Executive Director of IPB, Ingeborg Breines former chair of IPB and Tord Björk, member of the council of IPB. Others who have signed this appeal are Erkki Tuomija, former minister of Foreign Affairs in Finland; Rosa Elva Zúñiga from CEEAL and the World Social Forum movement in Mexico; Sergio Bassoli from the Italian trade union CGIL; Patrick Bond, climate justice activist from South Africa; Leo Gabriel, Member of the International Council of the World Social Forum; Joseph Gerson; President, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security; Ulla Klötzer; Women for Peace, Finland; Laura Lodenius; Director, Peace Union of Finland; Francine Mestrum, Global Social Justice, Belgium; Mirek Prokeš, Alliance for Labour and Solidarity, Czechia, Prague Spring 2 – European network against right-wing extremism and populism; Håkan Svenneling, Member of Parliament and Foreign Policy spokesperson for the Left Party, Sweden; and Hilary Wainwright, Co- editor Red Pepper magazine.

The European Left Party and Transnational Institutet (TNI) have also made a statement to support Kagarlitsky. You find the European left #freekagarlitsky statement here: https://www.european-left.org/criminal-case-initiated-against-russian-left-wing-scientist-and-activist-boris-kagarlitsky. The call for  solidarity with Dr Kagarlitsky, as well as all others being oppressed for advocating peace and defending democratic rights in Russia made by TNI can also be signed here: https://www.tni.org/en/article/we-condemn-the-arrest-of-russian-intellectual-boris-kagarlitsky. It has been supported among others by Naomi Klein, Yanis Varoufakis, Medea Benjamin, CodePink, David Adler, Progressive International, Walden Bello, Focus on the Global South, Pablo Solon, Edgardo Lander, Universidad de Venezuela, Caracas, Anthony Barnett, Co-founder, openDemocracy and Maude Barlow, co-founder of Council of Canadians. 

For more information, please contact Tord Björk via email: tord.bjork@gmail.com, skype: tordbjork, tel: +46 (0)722 15 16 90

address: Kyrkängsbacken 8, 14135 Huddinge, Sweden