‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Dmitry Morozov is a political prisoner

25 December 2023

Dmitry Morozov, a military serviceman from Sochi, has been sentenced to two years and four months in a penal colony for refusing to return to the war in Ukraine

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Dmitry Morozov a political prisoner. He was convicted of ‘refusing to participate in combat operations’ for refusing to return to the area of operation of Russia’s ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. Morozov’s criminal prosecution violated his rights to freedom of conscience and fair trial.

We demand the release of Dmitry Morozov and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

What are the charges against Dmitry Morozov?

Dmitry Morozov, a military contract serviceman from Sochi, took part in the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

On 1 February 2023, Morozov received orders to return to the combat zone in Ukraine, which he refused to do, citing among other things his personal beliefs. He subsequently refused to comply with a second order and filed a written statement explaining his position.

On 31 March 2023, a criminal case was opened against Morozov for the offence of refusing to participate in combat operations (Article 332, Part 2.1, of the Russian Criminal Code). During the investigation, he was under travel restrictions and unsuccessfully tried to challenge the actions of the military officials in court.

On 28 June 2023, Sochi Garrison Military Court sentenced Morozov to two years and four months in a low security penal colony.

Why do we consider Morozov a political prisoner?

The article of the Russian Criminal Code on refusal to participate in combat operations was quickly adopted at the time of the announcement of the ‘partial mobilisation’ on 21 September 2022.

At the same time, President Putin by decree significantly restricted the rights of military service personnel and unilaterally changed the terms of their contracts, depriving them of the opportunity to leave military service.

We consider that the president’s decree contradicts Article 59 of the Russian Constitution, according to which a citizen can refuse to perform military service if it goes against their beliefs. This right, which everyone has in every situation, takes on special significance when what is at issue is participation in a war of aggression. Dmitry Morozov refused to return to the war against Ukraine, citing, among other things, his beliefs.

A detailed description of the case of Dmitry Morozov and the position of the Human Rights Project are set out on our website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the project, ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can donate to support all political prisoners via our website. 

Translated by Rights in Russia

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