A left-wing activist and journalist from Russia is criminally charged with “justifying and calling for terrorism” over a post in the online magazine DOXA calling for letters to political prisoners.
On 21 April, the criminal case against Maria Menshikova, an activist of the Russian socialist movement, DOXA journalist and doctoral student at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, was reported. The reason for the prosecution was an article published by the independent Russian online publication DOXA on the social network VKontakte back in July 2022.
In the article, the editorial board urged to write letters to those arrested and accused of setting fire to military recruitment centres. The article mentioned the addresses of prisoners in pre-trial detention centres who had not yet been convicted and were presumed innocent even under Russian law.
DOXA also urged people to subscribe to the anti-war email newsletter, which includes a daily news digest with news about the war in Ukraine, anti-war actions in Russia and other important events in Russia and the world.
“This is a new level of absurdity in the repressive policy of the Russian state, which seeks to criminalise solidarity itself. Letter-writing campaigns to support political prisoners are hardly the only remaining legal form of collective action available to opponents of the regime in Russia.”comments Menshikova.
“For more than a year, Putin’s regime has been waging a real terror campaign against the peaceful population of Ukraine, while calling gestures of solidarity with political prisoners ‘terrorism’.”
Maria Menshikova is in Germany. She faces a fine or five to seven years in prison under the article on “Public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism” (part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Russian Criminal Code) in Russia.
Maria Menshikova’s case illustrates insecurity of Russian anti-war activists. We ask to share information about this case and pressurise your governments to provide more humanitarian visas to Russian political activists at risk. They will not be able to mount effective resistance to Russian imperialism while in prison.
Moreover, continue writing letters to Russian political prisoners, supporting political organizations and horizontal initiatives. Solidarity is the weapon against repressions and dictatorships.
This article is a statement by Russian Socialist Movement, which we republish in solidarity with all Russian anti-war and left-wing activists.