Write to Russia: Evgeniya Maiboroda – imprisoned for five and a half years on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army

Evgeniya Maiboroda, a pensioner, comes from the city of Shakhty in Rostov region. On 29 January 2024, a court in Shakhty sentenced Evgeniya Maiboroda to five and a half years in a general regime penal colony on charges of ‘spreading information known to be false about the Russian army motivated by political hatred’ and ‘incitement of extremism on the internet’. The alleged reason for these charges was that on her page on VK , a Russian social media site, Maiboroda had reposted an item about the number of Russian servicemen killed and an emotive video clip. On these charges she had been under investigation since March 2023. Memorial reports that in court, Maiboroda did not deny she had made these posts, but said she had not been motivated by ‘political hatred.’ She said that she had published the video shortly after her brother had been trapped under the rubble of a building destroyed by a bomb in Dnipro. Memorial declared Evgeniya Maiboroda a political prisoner on 1 April 2024. On 2 May 2024 Memorial reported that a court had upheld the sentence against Evgeniya Maiboroda on appeal.

Evgeniya Maiboroda had previously been prosecuted under administrative law for posting anti-war materials and other publications criticising the Russian authorities on her VK page. As a result, she had been fined and twice served short terms in jail.

Why do we consider Maiboroda a political prisoner?

Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code on ‘fake news’ about the Russian army was adopted into law after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine to enable prosecution of dissidents. The article effectively prohibits any criticism of the war or of the Russian authorities, and contradicts the principle of legal certainty. Article 207.3 should be rescinded, all related criminal convictions quashed, and all on-going charges dropped. Article 280 on incitement of extremism is selectively applied by the authorities. It is increasingly being used to punish dissidents, rather than to prevent socially dangerous behaviour. Although we do not know the content of the video Maiboroda reposted, it is most likely her prosecution on this charge is also of a purely political nature. Having studied Maiboroda’s personal page on the VK social media website, we concluded that it contained no statements dangerous to society and her prosecution is of a political nature.

Memorial, 1 April 2024

Write to Russia – Write to Evgeniya Maiboroda

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 Evgeniya Maiboroda 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 Evgeniya Maiboroda 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 Evgeniya Maiboroda is:

346519, Ростовская область, г. Шахты, пос. Кирпичный, ФКУ СИЗО-4 ГУФСИН России по Ростовской области, Майбороде Евгении Николаевне, 1951 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/
  24. Darya Kozyreva – remanded in custody on charges of ‘discrediting’ the Russian army – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-25/