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

7 March 2024

Vyacheslav Reznichenko is a Baptist from Primorye region sentenced to two and a half years in a low security penal colony for refusing to fight as a soldier against Ukraine.

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Vyacheslav Reznichenko a political prisoner. Reznichenko was convicted on charges of disobeying orders for refusing to fight against Ukraine for reasons of conscience. Reznichenko’s prosecution violated his rights to freedom of conscience and fair trial.

We demand the immediate release of Vyacheslav Reznichenko and an end to his criminal prosecution.

Who is Vyacheslav Reznichenko and what are the charges against him?

Vyacheslav Reznichenko is a 23-year-old Baptist from the village of Zarubino in Primorye region.

In September 2022, Reznichenko was mobilised into the Russian army. At the military unit he refused to comply with an order to go to fight in the war against Ukraine, citing his religious beliefs, which prohibit him from taking up arms.

Reznichenko was charged with disobeying an order for refusal to participate in military action (Article 332, Part 2.1, of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 15 June 2023, a military court in Vladivostok sentenced Reznichenko to two and a half years in a low security penal colony. Reznichenko pleaded not guilty, stating that he had the right to alternative civilian service and that participation in combat operations contradicted his beliefs.

On 21 August 2023, the Pacific Fleet Military Court upheld the verdict on appeal.

On 18 September 2023, Reznichenko arrived at the penal colony where he is to serve his sentence.

On 20 September, his child turned four months old.

Why do we consider Reznichenko a political prisoner?

Reznichenko’s conviction contradicts Article 59 of the Russian Constitution, according to which a citizen has the right to refuse military service, and to undertake alternative civilian service in its place, if it contradicts their beliefs. Reznichenko has repeatedly emphasised that he refuses to take up arms because of his religious beliefs.

Everyone has the right to alternative civilian service in any situation, but this right acquires special significance when what is at issue is participation in a war of aggression. Russia’s war against Ukraine, called a ‘special military operation’ in Russia, has been recognised as armed aggression by the UN General Assembly.

A detailed description of the case of Vyacheslav Reznichenko 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 Reznichenko at the following address:

In Russian: 690074, Приморский край,  Владивосток, ул. Выселковая, д. 48, ФКУ КП-49 ГУФСИН России по Приморскому краю, Резниченко Вячеславу Юрьевичу 1998 г. р.

English translation: Vyacheslav Yurevich Reznichenko (born 1998), Low Security Penal Colony No. 49, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Primorye region, 48 Vyselkovaya Street, Vladivostok, Primorye region, Russia 690074

You can also send an electronic letter using the Zonatelecom service.

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