‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Moscow activist Mikhail Kriger is a political prisoner

8 December 2022

Mikhail Kriger is accused of justifying terrorism in an online post from two years ago.

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ considers Mikhail Kriger a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. He is being prosecuted for justifying terrorism because of a social media post. The severity of Kriger’s criminal prosecution is clearly disproportionate to the public danger of the actions of which he stands accused.

We demand that Mikhail Kriger be immediately released from custody and that all criminal charges against him be dropped.

Who is Mikhail Kriger and what are the charges against him?

Mikhail Kriger is a Moscow-based opposition activist, active in the Solidarity movement since the early 2000s. Kriger was one of the founders of the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

As political repression has intensified in Russia, Kriger has been increasingly subject to prosecutions for administrative-law offences on account of his participation in public political protests that resulted in fines and short jail terms.

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, Kriger remained in Russia, where he continued to participate in political protests and openly declare his views on social media, including actively speaking out against the war.

On 3 November 2022, security forces forcibly detained Kriger in central Moscow. He was charged with justifying terrorism (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and remanded in custody.

The reason for his arrest was a two-year-old Facebook post attributed to Kriger that discussed a recent verdict in a treason trial. After emotional words about the final destruction of the rule of law in Russia and the suppression of society’s will to resist, the author of the post mentions Zhlobitsky, who had set off an explosive device in the Arkhangelsk headquarters of the FSB, and Maniurov, who had fired a gun near the FSB building in Moscow, calling them ‘heroes.’ The author notes, however, that he could not have done anything similar himself.

Why do we consider Kriger a political prisoner?

The text imputed to Kriger primarily condemns the flawed practices of the Russian state. The author sees in the actions of Zhlobitsy and Maniurov desperation on account of the inevitable failure of other forms of resistance to state violence.

At the same time, Mikhail Kriger’s public activities – his statements and behaviour at protest rallies – have had an emphatically peaceful character.

Taking into account international standards, as well as the context in which the statement imputed to Kriger appeared and the personality of the activist himself, we believe that this statement cannot be considered as incitement to commit acts of a terrorist nature.

The post imputed to Krieger appeared on Facebook two years ago. Given the close attention that law enforcement agencies pay to opposition activists, it is hard to imagine that this post had not come to their attention earlier.

We believe that the prosecution of Michael Kriger is part of a government campaign to ‘cleanse’ the public space of dissenters and is in reaction to Kriger’s civic position and his anti-war statements.

A more detailed description of the case and the position of the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ human rights project are available on our Telegram publishing platform.

An up-to-date list of political prisoners in Russia is available on our website.

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

How can you help?

Letters can be sent to the following address:

In Russian: 127055, Москва, ул. Новослободская, 45, ФКУ СИЗО-2 УФСИН России по г. Москва, Кригеру Михаилу Александровичу, 1960 г.р.

In English: Mikhail Aleksandrovich Kriger (born 1960), Remand Prison No. 2, Federal Penitentiary Service for Moscow city, 45 Novoslobodskaya Street, Moscow, 127055, Russia. 

You can send electronic mail via the FederalPenitentiaryService-Letter system.

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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