Person of the Week: Human rights lawyer Ivan Pavlov

Week-ending 31 July 2020

Ivan Pavlov is the lead lawyer currently representing Ivan Safronov, a former journalist who has been arrested on charges of treason. Pavlov is the leader of Team 29, a human rights group founded in 2015 in St. Petersburg that focuses on freedom of information. He is a laureate of the Moscow Helsinki Group prize for human rights. 

Ivan Pavlov is a graduate of the Law Faculty of St. Petersburg State University. He has been a practising lawyer since 1997. In 1998-2004, he was the head of the human rights environmental organization Bellona in St. Petersburg. From 2004, he was the head of the Freedom of Information Foundation for 10 years. After ending up on the register of ‘foreign agent’ NGOs, the fund suspended its work.

Since 2015, he has been leading the “Team 29” team of lawyers. Article 29 of the Russian Constitution guarantees “freedom of thought and speech”, prohibits propaganda, censorship and coercion to express opinions and beliefs or to reject them, and guarantees the right “freely to seek, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information in any legal way”. Team 29 provides assistance on such issues, and conducts educational work on the history of the development of the regulation of freedom of speech.

In 2015, Pavlov was one of those who unsuccessfully challenged Vladimir Putin’s decree on classifying information about military losses in peacetime in the Supreme Court. Pavlov defended environmentalist Aleksandr Nikitin when the latter was accused of treason. Nikitin was acquitted on all counts. He defended journalist Grigory Pasko, and GRU military intelligence service veteran Gennady Kravtsov, and the former director of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow. He represents in court the interests of the relatives of the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust during the Second World War, and died in the Lubyanka prison after he was arrested by Smersh in 1945.

He represented the interests of the staff of human rights organizations, and defended a former employee of the “troll factory”, obtaining legal compensation for a woman who was fired after telling the media about the existence of a propaganda project on Russian social networks. He is the winner of the 2015 Moscow Helsinki Group Prize in the field of human rights protection “for defending human rights in court”.


‘«Едем в такси, а за нами несколько машин». Адвокат Иван Павлов о деле журналиста Сафронова,’ Novy Prospekt, 16 July 2020 [republished by Moscow Helsinki Group and translated below].

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