‘Political Prisoners: Memorial’: Fyodor Konovalov, from St. Petersburg, is a political prisoner

22 January 2024

Fyodor Konovalov has been remanded in custody on charges of propaganda of terrorism for having in his possession posters from the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion

Source: Political prisoners. Memorial


The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Fyodor Konovalov a political prisoner. He is being prosecuted for ‘propaganda of terrorism using the Internet’ because of copies of posters found in his possession with information about the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion. Konovalov’s criminal case violates his right to a fair trial.

We demand the release of Fyodor Konovalov from custody and that the criminal charges brought against him for propaganda of terrorism be dropped.

Who is Fyodor Konovalov and what are the charges against him?

Fyodor Konovalov, 26, is a janitor at the Shostakovich Philharmonic in St. Petersburg. According to the Philharmonic’s director, Konovalov is someone who has suffered since childhood with psychiatric issues: he is not fully responsible for his actions.

On 21 August 2023, Fyodor Konovalov was detained on the street in St. Petersburg. Allegedly, at the time of his arrest Konovalov had on his person copies of posters with information about the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion, groups which are fighting against Russian troops on the side of Ukraine.

On 22 August, Konovalov was charged with ‘propaganda of terrorism using the Internet’ (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). Konovalov’s ‘use of the Internet,’ according to the investigation, consisted in the fact that he downloaded copies of the posters. On 23 August 2023, he was remanded in custody.

According to media reports, in a letter from the remand prison where he is being held, Konovalov has written that he used to be an opponent of the ‘special military operation,’ but now he ‘fully understands everything’ and considers his previous opinion to be wrong.

Why do we consider Konovalov a political prisoner?

Fyodor Konovalov was remanded in custody on charges of propaganda of terrorism under Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code. Article 205.2 is increasingly used by the Russian authorities to persecute dissenters, including opponents of aggression against Ukraine.

In the context of the armed conflict, the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom of Russia Legion should be considered as part of the Ukrainian armed forces and therefore their activities are not terrorism, but legitimate support for a state defending itself against armed aggression.

Accordingly, dissemination of information about these groups should not be classified as propaganda of terrorism. The classification of Konovalov’s alleged intentions – to put up copies of the posters – as propaganda of terrorism using the Internet because he had downloaded copies of the posters, is absurd.

A detailed description of the case of Fyodor Konovalov 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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