Darya Poliudova: Facing two years imprisonment for blogging
It was photographs like this, of Darya Poliudova holding political banners, that were part of the reason the Russian authorities found her guilty of ‘calls to commit extremist activities’ and ‘calls to commit actions threatening the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation’, and sentenced her to two years in prison.
Taking a stand, online and offline
Darya is a Russian activist, who is well-known in her small town in the south of Russia for her involvement in peaceful street activism. She is particularly vocal on her opposition the annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in the armed conflict ongoing in eastern Ukraine.
As well as similar photographs with banners bearing slogans such as ‘No war with Ukraine but revolution in Russia’, Darya also posts her opinions online, on a Russian social network called VKontakte, or ‘VK’. She uploaded a status saying that she blames Putin for ‘acts of terror and catastrophes in Russia’ and another calling for ‘a socialist revolution’.
‘On the Maydan [protests in Ukraine in 2013–2014] people were able to remove [then Ukrainian President] Yankovich, why are we not be able to remove Putin and then have a socialist revolution in Russia?’ Darya Poliudova, on VK
The charges also relate to Poliudova’s involvement in organising a “march for federalisation of Kuban” on VK, in July 2014. “Marches for federalisation” were a form of proposed local protest in several of Russia’s regions in 2014 that were promptly banned by authorities. The protests intended to make use of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, specifically Russia’s support for separatists, to call for greater autonomy for various regions in the Russian Federation.
Darya was arrested in August 2014 and held in pre-trial detention until February 2015; once released, she was placed under travel restrictions.
During this time she was also sentenced four times to periods of “administrative detention”, lasting between four and 15 days. As a result of these many detention she lost her job as legal council at a hospital. The detention lasting 15 days was due to Poliudova reposting online publications critical of the Russian government.
On 9 December, whilst distributing leaflets on the street for a local business, Darya was stopped by the police. They did not arrest her, but later that day she was fired from her job – as a result of a phone call from the police to her employer.
On the 21 December, she was sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence has not yet begun as she has appealed.
Join us in calling on the Russian authorities to withdraw the charges against Darya and urge them to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association without discrimination.
Please write to the Russian authorities, calling on them to:
- Immediately withdraw the charges pressed against Darya in connection with her peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression
- Respect and protect the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association without discrimination of any kind
- End the persecution of Darya and others in Russia who peacefully exercise the right to freedom of expression or because of their political opinion or beliefs
Please send your letter to the following addresses:
Colonel General Igor Koltsov
Head of the Regional Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation for Krasnodar Region
Ul. Mira 46
Fax: +7 (861) 268 43 59
Salutation: Dear Colonel General
Prosecutor of Krasnodar Region
Leonid Gennadevich Korzhinek
Prokuratura of Krasnodar Region
Ul Sovetskaia 39
Fax: +7 (863) 287 70 01
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Fax: +7 495 987 5841 / +7 495 692 1725
Excellency Mr Alexander V. Yakovenko
Embassy of the Russian Federation (Residence of the Ambassador)
13 Kensington Palace Gardens
Tel: 020 7229 3620 or 020 7792 1408
Fax: 020 7229 5804
Salutation: Your Excellency
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