‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Kirill Butylin is a political prisoner

29 September 2023

Kirill Butylin, an assembly-line worker from Moscow region, has been sentenced to 13 years in a strict regime penal colony for arson of a military recruitment centre and publication of a manifesto in support of Ukraine

Source: Political Prisoners: Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’, in accordance with international standards, considers Kirill Butylin a political prisoner. Butylin is being prosecuted for an act of terrorism, for vandalism and for inciting terrorism for attempting to set fire to a military recruitment centre, writing anti-war graffiti on its fence, and publishing a video of his action along with a manifesto in support of Ukraine. Butylin’s criminal prosecution violates his rights to freedom of expression and fair trial. The demonstrative severity of the sentence in Butylin’s case is intended to intimidate opponents of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

We demand that all charges of terrorism against Kirill Butylin be dropped and that his case be subject to a new and just trial.

Who is Kirill Butylin and what is the background to his case?

Kirill Butylin is a resident of the town of Lukhovitsy in the Moscow region. Before his arrest, he worked as an assembly-line fitter at the Lukhovitsy aviation plant.

According to the Investigative Committee, on 28 February 2022 Butylin drew a Ukrainian flag on the gate of the local military recruitment office with the words, ‘I will not go to kill my brothers!’ He then broke a window and threw two Molotov cocktails into the building.

On 8 March a Telegram channel posted a video of the arson attack on the military recruitment office in Lukhovitsy and published a manifesto in support of Ukraine which stated that the target of the attack was an archive that contained conscripts’ personal files. ‘Our protesters should be inspired to act more decisively,’ the text read.

The same day Butylin was arrested while trying to cross the border from Belarus into Lithuania. From there, he was taken to the police station in Lukhovitsy, from where on 13 March he escaped. He was soon caught and remanded in custody.

On 15 March 2023, Butylin was found guilty of committing a terrorist act (Article 205, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code), vandalism (Article 214, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) and incitement of terrorism (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code). He was sentenced to thirteen years’ imprisonment, of which the first three years are to be served in a cell-type prison and the rest in a high-security penal colony.

Why do we consider Kirill Butylin a political prisoner?

Kirill Butylin’s case was the first known attempt to set fire to a military recruitment office after Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine began.

The arson did not cause significant damage or result in ‘terrorising the population’ and therefore we consider the classification of Butylin’s actions as terrorism to be unjustified and excessively harsh. The charge of inciting terrorism by publishing the manifesto is also unfounded. Finally, the graffiti on the fence cannot be considered vandalism as it did not cause serious damage and was not offensive.

A detailed description of the case and the position of the Human Rights Project are set out on our website.

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

How can you help?

You can write to Kirill Butylin at the following address:

In Russian: 107076, Москва, ул. Матросская Тишина, д. 18, ФКУ СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Москве, Бутылину Кириллу Владимировичу 2001 г. р. 

In English: Kirill Vladimirovich Butylin (born 2001), Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Moscow, 18 Matrosskaya Tishina Street, Moscow, 107076, Russia

You can also send an electronic letter via F-Letter or Rosuznik.

Information about making donations to support all political prisoners can be found on our website.

Translated by Rights in Russia

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