Write to Russia: Darya Poliudova – imprisoned for exercising her right to freedom of expression

Darya Poliudova is a Russian political activist, blogger and a leader of the Left Resistance group from Krasnodar currently serving a nine-year term of imprisonment on charges of inciting extremism, justifying terrorism and creating an extremist community.

In 2015 Darya Poliudova had been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in a low security penal colony for criticizing the Russian government over the annexation of Crimea. At that time Memorial declared her a political prisoner and Amnesty International a prisoner of conscience. Human Rights Watch said Poliudova’s prosecution ‘is one in a growing number of cases where Russians are being punished for speaking their mind.’

After her release from prison in 2017, Darya Poliudova organized Left Resistance, a movement whose aims were to ‘oppose the capitalist oppressors for all the oppressed’ and to advocate for ‘workers’ power.’ In May 2021 she was sentenced to six years in a general regime penal colony on charges of inciting extremist activity and public justification of terrorism. Memorial described the grounds for her conviction as:

In February of the same year on VKontakte Poliudova reposted someone else’s publication which consisted of a photo of the militant Shamil Basaev with the inscription ‘when we demanded a referendum, the Russians came and killed everyone who did not have time to hide.’ This was accompanied by a text that stated: ‘the Urals and other republics that will separate from Russia in the future need individuals such as Dzhokhar Dudaev, Shamil Basaev, Aslan Maskhadov’ and that the residents of the Urals must learn to ‘fight against the Muscovites to defend their independence.’

Memorial again declared Darya Poliudova a political prisoner. In October 2022 the European Court of Human Rights awarded Poliudova 2,000 euros in compensation in response to an application Poliudova filed for excessively long detention on remand (from 15 January 2020 to 31 May 2021). While still serving this sentence, in December 2022 a court in Moscow sentenced Darya Poliudova to a total of nine years in prison on additional charges of creating an extremist community (for organizing Left Resistance) and publicly justifying terrorism (for posts on the Left Resistance page that called for the ‘execution’ of ‘Putler’ following the annexation of Crimea). In July 2023, Polyudova was placed in a punitive isolation cell for a blade that was found in her possession. Poliudova then went on hunger strike in protest. She claimed that the blade had been planted on her.

Write to Russia – Write to Darya Poliudova

The Russian penal system does not allow any messages to prisoners that are written in foreign languages, but Write to Russia is here to help you. To write to Darya Poliudova to show your support for her, 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, depending on your request, either mail the translated letter on your behalf to Darya or return the letter to you by email 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 Darya Poliudova is:

361029, Кабардино-Балкарская Республика, Прохладненский район, с. Советское, ул. Угнич, д. 10, ФКУ ИК-4 УФСИН России по Кабардино-Балкарской Республике, Полюдовой Дарье Владимировне, 1989 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
  10. Aleksei Gorinov – imprisoned for speaking out against Russia’s war on Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-11/
  11. Vladimir Kara-Murza – imprisoned for speaking out against Russia’s war on Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-12/

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