Write to Russia: Darya Kozyreva – remanded in custody on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army

Darya Kozyreva, who is 18 years old, was remanded in custody on 28 February 2024 by a court in St. Petersburg on criminal charges of repeatedly ‘discrediting’ the Russian army. The website Meduza, citing the human rights group OVD-Info, reported that the court hearing was ‘held behind closed doors due to the presence of “state secrets”.’ Darya Kozyreva was detained on 24 February, the second anniversary of the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, when she taped an extract from a poem by the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko (in Russian translation) to his statue in the city:

Bury me and then rise up,
Break your chains
And with your enemy’s foul blood
Water your freedom

My Testament [Заповіт] by Taras Shevenko

Darya Kozyreva has been recognised by Memorial as a political prisoner.

The charges against Kozyreva are absurd. In 2024, she is being prosecuted for repeatedly ‘discrediting’ the Russian army for a poem by the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko that he wrote in 1845. Expressing solidarity with the victims of armed aggression cannot be a crime. Kozyreva’s actions represent no threat to the public. What is a threat to the public is the war against Ukraine unleashed by the Russian authorities.

Political Prisoners. Memorial, 27 March 2024

Meduza reported that previously Kozyreva had been fined 30,000 roubles for a post on the VKontakte social media site that allegedly ‘discredited’ the Russian army. She was as a consequence subsequently expelled from St Petersburg State University.

They won’t shut me up. I consider it beneath my dignity to keep silent because I’m told to. Maybe my words won’t make a difference, but at least my conscience will be clear. In 22, 23, 24 years’ time I will know that I was not silent. Maybe I will leave the country. I’m not against leaving on principle anymore. But so long as it’s just a question of running away from those persecuting me, it doesn’t seem quite right. Another thing is I’m tired of walking along the street and seeing posters calling for people to ‘Sign Up’ and to do ‘Real Work’. If I leave, it will be easier psychologically, but I’m a patriot and a patriot in the right sense of the word. Not in the sense propagandists use this word. I hope everything will change. The people’s patience is not eternal and one day, I believe, the people will take up these cobblestones, the weapons of the proletariat, and use them against these villains who think they are kings. And no one who is guilty of this bloodbath or who is responsible for the evil going on now will escape. No evil lasts forever and every night comes to an end. And this night will end, too.

Darya Kozyreva as quoted by Sever.realii, 20 January 2024 [translation by RiR]

Write to Russia – Write to Darya Kozyreva

Illustration: Political Prisoners. Memorial

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 Kozyreva 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 Kozyreva 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 £2.50 – $3.14; €2.92). To learn more about our letter writing project, click here: Write to Russia.

The address to write to Darya Kozyreva is:

195009, г. Санкт-Петербург, ул. Арсенальная, д. 11, ФКУ СИЗО-5 УФСИН России по г. Санкт-Петербургу и Ленинградской области, Козыревой Дарье Александровне, 2005 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 (Aleksandra) 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 – died in custody – 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 exercising his right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-11/
  11. Vladimir Kara-Murza – imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-12/
  12. Darya Poliudova – imprisoned for exercising her right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-13/
  13. Ilya Yashin – Ilya Yashin – imprisoned for speaking out about Russian war crimes in Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-14/
  14. Appaz Kurtamet – imprisoned on fabricated charges of ‘financing an illegal armed group’ by a Russian-controlled court in occupied Crimea – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-15/
  15. Vyacheslav Malakhov – remanded in custody for criticising Putin for launching the war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-16/
  16. Maria Ponomarenko – imprisoned for sharing information about the Russian attack on the Mariupol theatre – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-17/
  17. Grigory Melkonyants – held on remand for his work monitoring elections – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-18/
  18. Daniil Stepanov – imprisoned for anti-war ‘vandalism’ and ‘cooperation with ‘foreign organisations’ – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-19/
  19. Evgenia Berkovich – a theatre director held on remand on charges of ‘justifying terrorism’ in violation of the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-20/
  20. Svetlana Petriychuk – a playwright held on remand on charges of ‘justifying terrorism’ in violation of the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-21
  21. Oleg Orlov – prominent human rights defender imprisoned for exercising the right to freedom of expression – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-22
  22. Nariman Dzhelyal – Crimean Tatar activist imprisoned on false charges – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-23/
  23. Eduard Sharlot – a musician remanded in custody for criticising Russia’s war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-24/