Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Kirill Ukraintsev, chair of the Courier trade union, is a political prisoner.

10 June 2022

Ukraintsev is being prosecuted under the ‘Dadin’ article of the Russian Criminal Code for organising protests by delivery and taxi drivers

Source: Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial’

The Human Rights Project ‘Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international criteria, considers Kirill Ukraintsev a political prisoner. He is being prosecuted for his activities as a trade unionist. In gross violation of the right to freedom of assembly, the criminal charges were brought against him for organising peaceful protests. Ukraintsev’s prosecution is intended to intimidate employees defending their rights in a time of economic crisis.

We demand that Kirill Ukraintsev be released immediately and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

We demand that all criminal prosecutions under the unconstitutional Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, concerning repeated violations of the regulations governing public events, be terminated and that Article 212.1 be removed from the Russian Criminal Code.

Who is Kirill Ukraintsev and what are the charges against him?

Kirill Ukraintsev, 32, is a leftwing activist from Moscow and chair of Courier [Kurier], an independent trade union. The union was founded in 2020 after several dozen Delivery Club couriers protested outside the company’s office against low wages and unjustified fines. The union seeks to improve the working conditions of couriers, in particular by means of the introduction of employment contracts and abolition of the penalty system.

On 21 April 2022 the union published an appeal by Moscow couriers working for Delivery Club stating that working conditions were worsening and wages were being reduced. The appeal asked the company to return to previous rates of pay. At the same time the Courier union announced the start of a strike by Delivery Club workers.

On 25 April about 30 people protested outside Delivery Club’s office in Moscow. Twelve of those protesting were arrested.

On the same day, Kirill Ukraintsev, who had not participated in protests for a long time, was charged with having perpetrated repeated violations of the regulations governing public events, an offence under Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (the so-called ‘Dadin’ article). Without court authorization his apartment was searched and then he was detained.

On 27 April 2022 Ukraintsev was remanded in custody by decision of Savelevsky district court in Moscow.

The investigation accuses Ukraintsev of organising protests of couriers and cab drivers in 2020-2021 and of urging members of the public to show support for the anarchist Azat Miftakhov by going to the court where the latter was on trial.

Why do we consider Kirill Ukraintsev a political prisoner?

The very fact of Kirill Ukraintsev’s prosecution under the unlawful and unconstitutional Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code concerning repeated violations of the regulations governing public events gives grounds to consider him a political prisoner.

Article 212.1 of the Russian Criminal Code contradicts fundamental principles of law, directly violates the right of peaceful assembly and penalises the exercise of this right.

Previously, Article 212.1 has been strongly criticised by Memorial, Amnesty International, the head of the Presidential Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation. Even the Russian Constitutional Court, when considering the appeal by Ildar Dadin, the first person convicted under this article, ruled that Article 212.1 should be applied only in those cases where violations of the regulations governing the organising or holding of a public event ‘resulted in harm to the health of citizens, the property of individuals or legal entities, the environment, public order, public security or other constitutionally protected values, or contained a real threat of causing such harm.’

It is also worth noting that the grounds for holding Ukraintsev criminally accountable  were created artificially. Ukraintsev was prosecuted under administrative law many months after the publications in question. Even the criminal charges against him were laid in April 2022 concerning a taxi drivers’ strike that took place in October 2021.

We believe Ukraintsev’s prosecution is politically motivated, not only because of the current general context of suppression of all independent civil society activity, but also because the charges against him include calling on the public to support political prisoner Azat Miftakhov.

More information about the case of Kirill Ukraintsev and the position of the Human Rights Project is available on our Telegram channel.

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

How can you help?

You can write to Kirill Ukraintsev at the following address:

In Russian: 125130, г. Москва, ул. Выборгская, д. 20, ФКУ СИЗО-5 УФСИН России по г. Москве, Украинцеву Кириллу Викторовичу 1990 г. р. 

In English: Kirill Viktorovich Ukraintsev (born 1990), Remand Centre No. 5 of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Moscow, 20 Vyborgskaya Street, Moscow, 125130

You can also send him an electronic letter via FederalPenitentiaryService-Letter.

You can sign the petition demanding Kirill Ukraintsev’s release. You can find out about other ways to show solidarity with Ukraintsev on the social media page of the Courier union.

You can support all political prisoners by making a donation via the YooMoney account of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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