‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Vladislav Kraval is a political prisoner

18 March 2024

Vladislav Kraval has been sentenced to six years and three months in a penal colony on charges of vandalism and falsely reporting the arson of a military recruitment centre

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, considers Vladislav Kraval a political prisoner. Kraval has been convicted on charges of vandalism for anti-war graffiti and of knowingly falsely reporting a terrorist act by phoning the police with information about an alleged arson attack on a military recruitment centre. Kraval’s criminal prosecution and conviction violated his right to fair trial.

We demand that Kraval’s conviction be quashed and his case be retried in a fair hearing.

Who is Vladislav Kraval and what were the charges against him?

Vladislav Kraval is a civil society activist from Ukhta in the Komi Republic. Since 2018, he has taken part in environmental protests, including those against the construction of a landfill site for waste at Shiyes in Arkhangelsk region. Kraval then became involved in political protests. He took part in protests in memory of Boris Nemtsov and in support of Sergei Furgal and Aleksei Navalny.

On the night of 19 June 2022, Kraval wrote ‘Fuck war’ on a pro-war Z-shaped banner put up on the Palace of Culture in Ukhta. He wrote the same graffiti on the walls of neighbouring buildings and on a nearby roadway. At the time, the police were unable to establish who was responsible for this graffiti.

On 25 September 2022, after mobilisation was announced in Russia, Kraval called the police to report a planned arson attack on the military recruitment office in Ukhta. Shortly before that, Kraval had learnt that his eldest son’s name was on the list of those to be mobilised in Komi.

On 27 September Kraval was detained in the entrance hall of the apartment building where he lived. During a search of his home, the authorities found a blue and white badge and a paint-stained jacket with a crossed-out letter Z and the inscription ‘Fuck war.’ According to the investigative authorities, it was while wearing these clothes that Kraval had damaged the banner on the Palace of Culture. A criminal case was opened against Kraval on charges of vandalism motivated by political hatred (Article 214, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and of knowingly falsely reporting an act of terrorism in order to destabilise the authorities (Article 207, Part 3, of the Russian Criminal Code).

On 6 June 2023, a court in Ukhta sentenced him to six years and three months in a general regime penal colony; on 29 September 2023 the sentence was upheld on appeal.

Why do we consider Kraval a political prisoner?

We consider that Kraval’s actions have been wrongly classified. Additional motives were attributed to him in both cases, artificially increasing the severity of the charges for actions that in fact do not present a serious public danger.

In his testimony, Kraval stated that he does not support Russia’s policy and opposes the war against Ukraine. Even the court noted that Kraval made the inscription on the banner ‘in order to protest against the current government and its decision to carry out the Special Military Operation on the territory of Ukraine, as well as to express his negative attitude towards the conduct of any military action, because he is a pacifist.’

In our view, the sole explanation for the severe punishment handed down to Vladislav Kraval is that his prosecution was politically motivated and was related to his opposition activism and consistent anti-war stance.

A detailed description of the case of Vladislav Kraval 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 Vladislav Kraval at the following address:

In Russian: 2165115, Архангельская область, Вельский район, дер. Горка-Муравьёвская, Спецгородок, д. 1А, ФКУ ИК-14 УФСИН России по Архангельской области, Кравалю Владиславу Владиславовичу 1975 г. р. 

English translation: Vladislav Vladislavovich Kraval (born 1975), Penal Colony No. 14, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Arkhangelsk region, 1A Spetsgorodok, Gorka-Muravevskaya Village, Velsky district, Arkhangelsk region, 2165115, Russia

You can also send Vladislav Kraval an electronic letter using the F-Pismo and 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