‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Irina Skorovarova, from Taganrog, is a political prisoner 

24 January 2024

Taganrog resident Irina Skorovarova has been placed under house arrest on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian armed forces

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Irina Skorovarova a political prisoner. She is being prosecuted for the offence of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army for a post on the Odnoklassniki social network. Irina Skorovarova’s prosecution violates her rights to freedom of expression and fair trial. 

We demand the immediate release of Irina Skorovarova and the termination of her criminal prosecution!

Who is Irina Skorovarova and what are the charges against her?

Irina Skorovarova, 40, lives in Taganrog with her young child. On her page on Odnoklassniki, a Russian social media site, she regularly published materials of an oppositional nature, including some against the war. 

On 16 February 2023, Skorovarova was convicted under administrative law of ‘discrediting’ the Russian armed forces (Article 20.3.3, Part 1, of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences) for posting a video on Odnoklassniki about a Russian army strike on a residential house in Dnipro. 

On 29 April 2023, Skorovarova again posted an anti-war video on her page, this time a report about a Russian soldier who returned from the front and was puzzled why his fellow villagers treated him badly. The video served as grounds for initiating a criminal investigation against Skorovarova for ‘repeated “discrediting” of the Russian army’ (Article 280.3, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code), since at that time less than a year had passed since her conviction under administrative law. 

On 12 January 2024 Irina Skorovarova was placed under house arrest. 

Why do we consider Irina Skorovarova a political prisoner?

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code was created as a tool to suppress dissent after the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. In practical terms, Article 280.3 effectively prohibits any criticism of the war or of the Russian authorities and therefore violates the right of citizens to freedom of expression. Article 280.3 contradicts fundamental principles of law, in particular, the principle of legal certainty. 

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code should be rescinded, and all criminal convictions under this law should be quashed and ongoing prosecutions closed.

The fact that Skorovarova again posted an anti-war video after being prosecuted under administrative law shows that her anti-war stance is consistent and she has continued to adhere to it even in the face of obvious risks – risks which have materialised in her criminal prosecution. 

A detailed description of the case of Irina Skorovarova and the position of the Human Rights Project are available on our website.

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