‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Vyacheslav Malakhov is a political prisoner

19 February 2024

Vyacheslav Malakhov, author of the ‘Pre-revolutionary Sovetchik’ blog, has been remanded in custody for a post on Telegram on charges of ‘“repeated” discrediting of the army.’

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Vyacheslav Malakhov a political prisoner and demands his release. Malakhov is being prosecuted on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army for a publication on Telegram. His prosecution is in violation of his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial. 

We demand the release of Vyacheslav Malakhov and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

Who is Vyacheslav Malakhov and what is the background to his case?

Vyacheslav Malakhov is a poet, writer, musician, blogger, and one of the authors of ‘Pre-revolutionary Sovetchik,’ a popular page on the VK social media site. 

The reason for Malakhov’s criminal prosecution was a post on his Telegram channel, published on 8 September 2023, in which Malakhov addressed Vladimir Putin and criticised him for unleashing the war against Ukraine, his policy of homophobia and religious hypocrisy. 

The investigative authorities considered the post as ‘discrediting’ the Russian army. Malakhov had previously been convicted of the administrative-law offence of  ‘discrediting’ the Russian armed forces (Article 20.3.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences) for publications on VK. Therefore in this instance a criminal case was opened against him under Article 280.3, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code.

On 31 January 2024 Malakhov was detained in Moscow, and on 2 February he was remanded in custody. 

Why do we consider Malakhov a political prisoner?

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code was introduced as an instrument to suppress dissent after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine. In practice, this law prohibits all criticism of the war or of the Russian authorities, which violates the right of citizens to freedom of expression, and contradicts fundamental principles of law, in particular, the principle of legal certainty.

Article 280.3 of the Russian Criminal Code should be repealed, all related convictions quashed and ongoing prosecutions closed.

Vyacheslav Malakhov has consistently professed opposition to the war. He made a principled decision to stay in Russia and despite the risks continued to publish posts on social networks protesting against the war. The criminal case brought against Malakhov and the decision to remand him in custody are retribution by law enforcement authorities for his anti-war stance and his consistent criticism of Putin.

A detailed description of the case of Vyacheslav Malakhov 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 write to Vyacheslav Malakhov at the following address:

In Russian: 109382, Москва, ул. Верхние Поля, д. 57, ФКУ СИЗО-7 УФСИН России по г. Москве, Малахову Вячеславу Игоревичу 1985 г. р.

English translation: Vyacheslav Igorevich Malakhov (born 1985), Remand Prison No. 7, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Moscow, 57 Verkhnie Polya Street, Moscow, 109382, Russia.

You can also send an electronic letter via the F-Pismo or Zonatelecom services.

Please note that letters in languages other than Russian are highly unlikely to reach the recipient.

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

Translated by Rights in Russia

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