Pressure on anti-war EHRDs in Russia

Aug 25, 2022

During the first six months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, at least 37 environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) were prosecuted for their anti-war actions or expressions of anti-war stance in Russia. 

One activist has already been given a suspended sentence, and five others are facing criminal prosecution. At least five activists emigrated from Russia because of criminal prosecution. Six received administrative arrests (73 days in total). The total amount of fines imposed was 755 thousand rubles.

The leading regions in terms of the number of pressure cases are:

  • Arkhangelsk region (8 activists),
  • Moscow (5 activists),
  • St. Petersburg (4 activists),
  • Tatarstan (4 activists),
  • Bashkortostan (3 activists).

The leading regions in the number of fines: Arkhangelsk: 9 fines of 320 thousand rubles and Yekaterinburg 7 fines of 230 thousand rubles. Most arrests were made in Moscow for a total of 45 days.

Five people are being prosecuted in criminal cases. Proceedings under an article on distribution of “fakes” about the Russian army (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code) were initiated against Raisa Boldova, an environmental activist from Bashkortostan; Boris Romanov, a St. Petersburg environmental activist and human rights activist; and Mikhail Afanasyev, editor-in-chief of the online publication Novy Fokus (the publication covers problems related to activities of gold and coal miners in Khakasia). Andrey Boyarshinov, Kazan activist, candidate of biological sciences, was prosecuted under part 2 of Article 205.2 (“Public calls to terrorist activities”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Roman Taganov, an envrionmental activist from Adygea, was already sentenced to 3 years on probation under Part 1 Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – for violence against a policeman, not dangerous for life or health. The reason for the case was the attack on Taganov himself when he and his son, dressed in yellow and blue clothes, were walking along the street. The man was attacked from behind by an unknown man, who later turned out to be a police officer. Taganov’s self-defense was recognized by the court as aggression against the enforcer.

Six environmental activists received administrative arrests: Ilya Lukhovitsky, defender of Trinity Forest — 30 days, climate activist, volunteer of the local Greenpeace group Lyubov Samylova — 6 days, head of programs on microplastics, marine debris, waste and conscious consumption organization “Friends of the Baltic”, co-chairwoman of Russian Socio-Ecological Union Elizaveta Merinova — 5 days; Alexey Dmitriev, defender of the Grachevka river in Khimki — 10 days; Oksana Vladyka, human rights defender, defender of the Shies — 7 days; Mikhail Lobanov, professor of Moscow State University — 15 days.

The total amount of fines imposed on anti-war environmental activists amounted to 755 thousand rubles. Most often the courts imposed fines under Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code “On discrediting the army”, which came into force in March 2022.

Alena Smyshlyaeva, the defender of the square near the Dramteater in Yekaterinburg, was fined a total of 230,000 rubles — six times under Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code and once under Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code on disrespect for authority.

Five environmental activists emigrated from Russia, fearing criminal prosecution: Sverdlovsk activist Alyona Smyshlyayeva, Shies defenders Anna Stepanova and Dmitry Sekushin, Vologda activist Evgeny Domozhirov, and Omsk eco-activist Richard Roman King (pictured).

Below is a list of environmental activists who have been prosecuted for anti-war actions or expressing an anti-war stance:

  • Arshak Makichyan, Polina Oleinikova, Ilya Lukhovitsky, Mikhail Lobanov, Sergey Vlasov (Moscow)
  • Olga Elsakova, Vladimir Kogut, Yulia Raduga (Chapurina), Oksana Vladyka, Dmitry Sekushin, Radik Adnobaev, Elena Fokina, Elena Kalinina (Arkhangelsk)
  • Roman Taganov (Adygeya)
  • Aitugan Sharipov, Fail Alsynov, Raisa Boldova (Bashkortostan)
  • Lyubov Samylova, Mikhail Solomonov (Volgograd)
  • Evgeny Domozhirov (Vologda)
  • Alyona Smyshlyaeva (Yekaterinburg)
  • Elena Izotova, Gulnaz Ravilova, Ruslan Zinatullin, Andrey Boyarshinov (Kazan)
  • Elena Gulina, Natalia Beshkareva, Ivan Ivanov, Elena Klyuchko (Komi)
  • Andrey Rudomakha (Krasnodar Territory)
  • Richard Roman King (Omsk)
  • Elizaveta Merinova, Irina Andrianova, Marina Parkina, Boris Romanov (St. Petersburg)
  • Mikhail Afanasiev (Khakassia)
  • Alexey Dmitriev (Khimki).

Read the original  article in Russia here.