Write to Russia: Dolite Sinitsyna – a retired history teacher imprisoned for criticising Russia’s war against Ukraine on social media

On 25 May 2023, Dolite Sinitsyna, a pensioner and resident of Nakhodka in Primorsky region in Russia’s Far East, was sentenced to 18 months in a penal colony on a charge of inciting extremism under Article 280, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code. Her conviction and sentence were subsequently upheld on appeal. Her health has deteriorated while she has been in detention.

Sinitsyna, a retired history teacher, is a politically active citizen who ran for election to Nakhodka City Duma in 2017. On 5 September 2022, a criminal investigation was opened against her on a charge of ‘incitement of extremism’ and the same day her house was searched. She was then interrogated by the FSB and subsequently charged with posting comments on the Odnoklassniki social media platform on 19 and 31 May 2022. Memorial reports that the comments were critical of Russia’s war against Ukraine: ‘According to some sources, she wrote “Death to the fasZzZcist occupiers!!!” and “Russia is a fascist state”.’ Memorial has recognised Dolite Sinitsyna as a political prisoner on account of being convicted for exercising the right to freedom of expression and for being denied a fair trial.

The article on incitement of extremism is used by the Russian authorities to persecute dissidents. The courts do not check whether alleged ‘calls to extremism’ have any socially dangerous consequences. This article is applied selectively: it is never used to prosecute pro-government propagandists who publicly call for people to be killed for their nationality, ethnicity, or political views. Sinitsyna’s prosecution was solely on account of anti-war comments on social media that posed no danger to society. On the contrary, such comments were socially useful, given that they expressed disagreement with Russia’s war of aggression. Sinitsyna neither committed nor incited any acts of violence.

Memorial, 8 May 2024

Write to Russia – Write to Dolite Sinitsyna

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 Dolite Sinitsyna to show your support for her, please send your letters as an email to us at: letters-to-prisoners@protonmail.com. We shall translate the letters into Russian for you and, depending on your request, either mail the translated letters on your behalf to Dolite Sinitsyna 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 Dolite Sinitsyna is:

690074, г. Владивосток, ул. Выселковая, 48, ФКУ КП-49 ГУФСИН России по Приморскому краю, Синицыной Долите Альберто, 1957 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/
  25. Evgeniya Maiboroda – imprisoned for five and a half years on charges of ‘discrediting the Russian army’ – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-26/
  26. Ukrainian citizens Volodymyr Udovyka, Volodymyr Linnyk, Viktoriia Tkachenko and Nataliia Prydatchenko – imprisoned in violation of the Geneva Conventions – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-27/
  27. Nadezhda Buyanova – remanded in custody on charges of spreading ‘fake news’ about the Russian military –https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-28/
  28. Bohdan Ziza – sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for protesting against Russia’s war on Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-29/
  29. Richard Rouz – serving an eight-year term of imprisonment for criticizing Russia’s war against Ukraine – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-30/
  30. Ramilya Galim – sentenced to five years for calling on soldiers mobilised from Bashkortostan not to kill Ukrainians – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-31
  31. Zarema Musaeva – Zarema Musaeva – imprisoned on trumped up charges is a victim of collective punishment intended to silence her family members – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-32/
  32. Dolite Sinitsyna – a retired history teacher imprisoned for criticising Russia’s war against Ukraine on social media – https://www.rightsinrussia.org/write-to-russia-33/

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