Write to Russia: Fail Alsynov – imprisoned for a speech at an environmental protest in Bashkortostan

Fail Alsynov (in his passport, his surname is ‘Alchinov’), a well-known Bashkir opposition activist, was sentenced to four years in a penal colony on 17 January 2024 for a speech he had made at a protest against a new gold mine. On 18 August 2023, Alsynov had been charged with ‘public incitement of hatred or enmity’ (Article 282, Part 1, of the Russian Criminal Code). The charge was initiated following a complaint by the head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, to the Republic’s prosecutor’s office that Alsynov, in a speech at a protest rally on 28 April 2023 against a planned gold mine, had used language that insulted people from the Caucasus and Central Asia (speaking in the Bashkir language, Alsynov had used the phrase ‘qara halıq,’ which he denies is insulting and merely means ‘ordinary people’). Memorial has designated Fail Alsynov a political prisoner.

Previously, Alsynov had headed Bashkort, a civil society organisation advocating sovereignty for Bashkortostan and defending the interests of ethnic Bashkirs. In 2020, a court designated Bashkort extremist and banned the organisation. Alsynov was also an active participant in rallies to protect the Kushtau mountain, a site held sacred by Bashkirs. Following Alsynov’s conviction and sentencing there were large-scale protests in Bashkortostan, accompanied by police violence and mass arrests. Dozens of new prosecutions, on both criminal and administrative-law charges, resulted. Two people died after being detained.

Alsynov’s prosecution is politically motivated. The criminal investigation was initiated against him on the basis of appeals to the prosecutor’s office by the head of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov, and the head of his administration, Iskander Akhmetvaleev. Alsynov is a popular politician in Bashkortostan and a significant opponent of the regional authorities. The high level of support he enjoys is also evidenced by the mass protests on the day of the verdict and the following days. The speech for which Alsynov was prosecuted concerned the deterioration of the environmental situation and was not intended to incite hostility towards other ethnic groups or their denigration. His prosecution was based on a single linguistic evaluation by a specialist who had previously participated in the hearings that led to the banning of Bashkort and in other criminal prosecutions of Bashkir activists. His opinion is neither objective nor unbiased.

Memorial, 5 July 2024

Write to Russia – Write to Fail Alsynov

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 Fail Alsynov to show your support for him, 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 Fail Alsynov 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 Fail Alsynov [whose surname in his passport is Alchinov] is:

614056, г. Пермь, ул. Соликамская, д. 246, ФКУ ИК-29 ГУФСИН России по Пермскому краю, Алчинову Фаилю Фаттаховичу, 1986 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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