‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’: Igor Orlovsky is a political prisoner

2 May 2023

Igor Orlovsky was sentenced to three years in prison on charges of disseminating ‘fake news’ about the Russian army and public incitement of extremism and terrorism for anti-war statements on the Internet

Source: Political Prisoners. Memorial

The human rights project ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial,’ in accordance with international standards, has recognised Krasnoyarsk resident Igor Orlovsky as a political prisoner. His criminal prosecution for anti-war comments is politically motivated and wrongful. Orlovsky is being prosecuted for exercising the right to freedom of expression. His prosecution is intended to intimidate opponents of the war against Ukraine within Russia.

We demand the immediate release of Igor Orlovsky from custody and an end to his criminal prosecution.

Who is Igor Orlovsky and what are the charges against him?

The criminal charges against Krasnoyarsk resident Igor Orlovsky became known in December 2022. Orlovsky was charged with incitement of extremist activity (Article 280, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) on the basis of a comment, ‘Death to the Russian occupiers! Peace to Ukraine and the whole world!’ that he posted on the VK social media site. The same legal proceedings also included a charge of incitement of terrorism (Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code) on the basis of the comment, ‘Death to the old fascist Vovka Putin,’ which the FSB classified as such. 

At the time Orlovsky’s trial for incitement of terrorism and extremism began, he was under travel restrictions.

In February 2023, Orlovsky was charged with rehabilitation of Nazism (Article 354.1, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code ) and disseminating ‘fake news’ about the Russian army (Article 207.3, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code). The charge of rehabilitation of Nazism was based on a comparison between the politics of Hitler and those of Stalin made by Orlovsky on VK: ‘Stalin was as much an aggressor as Hitler.’ The charge of disseminating ‘fake news’ was brought for comments about the missile strike on the Mariupol Drama Theatre, the killings in Bucha and the actions of the Russian army in general.

On 24 March 2023, the First Eastern District Military Court found Igor Orlovsky guilty of incitement of extremism and terrorism and sentenced him to three years in a general regime penal colony. The investigations into the charges of rehabilitation of Nazism and disseminating ‘fake news’ about the Russian army continue.

Why do we consider Orlovsky a political prisoner?

We believe that none of Igor Orlovsky’s statements can be classified as a crime.

The statements which have served as grounds for prosecution on charges of incitement of terrorism and extremism do not constitute calls to action, but are evaluative judgements expressing the view that the object of the statement is a criminal who deserves death. We believe Orlovsky’s statements do not represent any danger to the public and therefore the punishment of imprisonment seems to us unfounded and excessively severe.

We believe that the articles of the Russian Criminal Code on dissemination of information known to be false about the actions of the Russian army and the rehabilitation of Nazism were created in their current form in order to suppress public debate and are being used as a means of repression against critics of the Russian authorities.

A detailed description of the case and of 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 of, their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can write to Igor Orlovsky at the following address:

In English: Igor Orlovsky (born 1970), Remand Prison No. 1, Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for Krasnoyarsk Region, 72 Respublika St., Krasnoyarsk, Krasnoyarsk region.

In Russian: Красноярский край, город Красноярск, ул. Республики, д. 72, ФКУ СИЗО-1 ГУФСИН России по Красноярскому краю, Орловскому Игорю Сергеевичу 1970 г. р.

You can also write to Igor Orlovsky via the online letter service of the Federal Penitentiary Service. 

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. For more information about donating, see our website

Translated by Rights in Russia

Leave a Reply