‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Vladimir Rumyantsev, a radio ham arrested for anti-war broadcasts, is a political prisoner

19 August 2022

Vladimir Rumyantsev, a 61-year-old factory worker from Vologda, has been remanded in custody for statements about the war on radio and social networks

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ considers Vologda resident Vladimir Rumyantsev a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. His criminal prosecution violates the right to freedom of expression and is intended to silence the voices of opponents within the country of Russia’s war against Ukraine and to intimidate Russian civil society.

We demand the immediate release of Vladimir Rumyantsev and that the criminal charges against him be dropped.

Who is Vladimir Rumyantsev and what are the charges against him?

Vladimir Rumyantsev is an amateur radio enthusiast from Vologda. On Rumyantsev’s page on the VK social media site, his last place of work is indicated as ‘an underground radio station.’ Judging by recordings, it has functioned in Vologda since 2017. His biography on VK says Rumyantsev had earlier worked as a gas equipment fitter at the Vologda brick factory and had also been a brick kiln worker and furnace operator. 

In July 2022 it became known a criminal investigation had been launched against Rumyantsev for allegedly spreading ‘fake news’ about the actions of the Russian army (Article 207.3, Part 2[e] of the Russian Criminal Code). Since 14 July, Rumyantsev has been held on remand.

According to the Investigative Committee, Rumyantsev broadcast audio recordings by radio that were critical of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition, he wrote anti-war posts on his personal page on the VK social media site.

Rumyantsev’s VK page remains accessible to the public at the present time. It includes hundreds of entries that criticise actions of the military, anti-war manifestos, and emotional reactions to the war and its consequences.

Vladimir Rumyantsev faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment if convicted.

What do we consider Rumyantsev a political prisoner?

Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code that criminalises the dissemination of information known to be false about the actions of the Russian army was adopted by the State Duma as an emergency measure shortly after the war began. This article contradicts the Russian Constitution, the international obligations of the Russian Federation and fundamental principles of law.

Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code was created as an instrument to prosecute critics of the Russian authorities. In practice, the Article criminalises any critical statements about the Russian army’s involvement in the invasion of Ukraine. Increasingly, people are being prosecuted under this article, not for statements of fact, but for expressing personal opinions about what is happening.

While it is not yet known which of Rumyantsev’s anti-war statements has served as grounds for his criminal prosecution, we believe his prosecution under the anti-constitutional Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code is unlawful and wrongful.

A more detailed description of the case of Vladimir Rumyantsev and the position of the Human Rights Project is available on our Telegram channel.

A full list of political prisoners in Russia can be found on our temporary website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ human rights project agrees with, or approves of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can send letters to the following address:

In Russian: 160019, г. Вологда, ул. Трудовая, д. 2, ФКУ СИЗО-2 УФСИН России по Вологодской области, Румянцеву Владимиру Александровичу 1961 г. р.

In English: Vladimir Aleksandrovich Rumyantsev (born 1961), Remand Prison No. 2, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Vologda region, 2 Trudovaya Street, Vologda, 160019, Russia.

You can also send electronic mail via Zonatelekom.

You can donate to support all political prisoners via the PayPal (helppoliticalprisoners@gmail.com) or YooMoney accounts of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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