Write to Russia: Aleksei Gorinov – imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression
Photo: Wikipedia

Aleksei Gorinov was a Moscow city political activist, a member of the democratic Solidarity movement and a member of the Council of Deputies of the capital’s Krasnoselsky municipal district. In custody since 26 April 2022, on 8 July 2022 Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in a general regime penal colony for ‘public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Russian Armed Forces by a group of persons using their official position on the grounds of political hatred’ under Article 207.3, Part 2 [a, b, d], of the Russian Criminal Code. On appeal, his sentenced was reduced by one month to six years eleven months. He has been in custody since 26 April 2022. He has been declared a political prisoner by Memorial. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience.

Bruce Millar, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director, said:

Aleksei Gorinov’s sentence is shocking. It is an unlawful reprisal for expressing his views, and not the administration of justice. Aleksei Gorinov did not commit any internationally recognized crime by calling the war unleashed by Vladimir Putin on Ukraine what it is, a criminal war. The Russian judiciary has once again sided with a government intent in silencing all forms of dissent.

Bruce Millar, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Amnesty International

The grounds for Gorinov’s prosecution was a broadcast of a session of the Council of Deputies of the Krasnoselsky municipal district during which Gorinvo condemned the war crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine. His words in translation were as follows:

What leisure and entertainment can we talk about when hostilities are being conducted on the territory of a neighbouring sovereign state and aggression is being carried out by out country? What kind of children’s drawing competition can we talk about or what kind of organisation of dance programmes for Children’s Day, Victory Day, when children are dying every day? About a hundred children have already died in Ukraine, they are becoming orphans, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the participants of the Second World War are thrown into the heat of hostilities.

Aleksei Gorinov during a discussion of a ‘leisure plan’ for local children. Source: Memorial

Below is an excerpt from Aleksei Gorinov’s final speech to the court at his trial:

And the least I can do, is to say things as they truly are. Will seven years – as well as my whole life experience – be enough to “correct” me from being a pacifist to a war hawk? To accept the ongoing special military operation not as military conflict or war, but as an act that is bringing people peace? To learn how to turn a blind eye to the death of the civilian population, including children, during this “operation”? To call not for a ceasefire, but for a continuation of the war? Time will tell… Time will also tell if seven years will be enough for the political leadership of the country to realise the extent of the catastrophic damage they have done to Russia’s foreign policy, economy and moral integrity. Devastation in a European country, the like of which hasn’t been seen since the Second World War. Tens of thousands of dead and wounded on both sides. Millions of refugees. Meanwhile, we are told daily and hourly that this war is for the sake of peace.  Brainwashing us to believe that killing each other is right and normal.

Alekesei Gorinov, speech at his trial

Aleksei Gorinov’s health has deteriorated significantly since he was remanded in custody and deprived of appropriate medical provisions. Amnesty International issued a statement that Gorinov’s life was in danger. He was subsequently transferred to the hospital attached to the penal colony where he is serving his sentence. In November 2022, Gorinov received the Magnitsky Award. On 16 November 2022 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of Aleksei Gorinov, a demand rejected by the Russian authorities. Subsequently, on 21 December 2023, Mariana Katzarova, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation, said that Gorinov’s treatment and conditions of detention, including reports about the prison authorities withholding lifesaving medicine and medical treatment from him, need to be urgently investigated and prosecuted with a view to holding those responsible accountable.

I call on the Russian authorities to immediately disclose Gorinov’s whereabouts and his state of health and grant him immediate access to adequate medical care, to his family and his defence lawyers. The practice of enforced disappearance of imprisoned political figures in Russia must end.

Mariana Katzarova, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation

Write to Russia

To write to Aleksei Gorinov to express your support for hIm, please send your letter as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letter into Russian for you and either, depending on your request, mail the translated letter on your behalf to Aleksei or return the letter to you for posting in an envelope with an address written in Russian. If we send the letter on your behalf, we ask that you compensate us for the cost of postage from the UK (currently £2.20 – $2.73; €2.52). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

The address to write to Aleksei Gorinov is:

600007, Владимирская область, г. Владимир, ул. Полины Осипенко, д. 49, ФКУ ИК-3 УФСИН России по Владимирской области, Горинову Алексею Александровичу, 1961 г. р.

If you would like to write to another person unjustly deprived of liberty in Russia, the project Write to Russia has so far highlighted the following cases:

  1. Sasha (Alexandra) Skochilenko – imprisoned for peaceful anti-war protest – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-2/
  2. Mikhail Zhilin – imprisoned for refusing to fight against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-3/
  3. Aleksei Arbuzenko – imprisoned for protesting the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-4/
  4. Aleksei Navalny – imprisoned for peaceful participation in electoral politics – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-5/
  5. Evgeny Zinich- imprisoned for his faith – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-6/
  6. Alsu Kurmasheva – held on remand for her work as a journalist – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-7/
  7. Bakhrom Khamroev – imprisoned for his political and religious beliefs and human rights work – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-8
  8. Andrei Kapatsyna – imprisoned for his religious beliefs and refusing to fight in Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-9
  9. Gregory Vinter – imprisoned for speaking out about the killings in Bucha and Irpen – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-10

Leave a Reply