The purpose of this Coalition of civil society organizations is to organize and coordinate collective actions to free the Kremlin’s political prisoners in ways that will supplement and enhance the work of individual Coalition members, raise the profile of the Kremlin’s political prisoners, and place increasing pressure on the current Russian authorities to release them.
The Kremlin has waged a brutal and systematic campaign to crush civil society in Russia. While the government has demonstrated a willingness to go after anyone it distrusts, certain groups are especially vulnerable – human rights defenders, business opponents, journalists and bloggers, critics of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTI persons, and anyone who dares to express political dissent.
One of the Kremlin’s preferred tactics of repression is to arrest and detain political opponents on spurious criminal charges. While all prisoners held by the Kremlin are at risk of mistreatment, including torture, political prisoners are often singled out.
Memorial Human Rights Centre keeps a current list (in Russian) of the Kremlin’s political prisoners.
Lack of accountability
While domestic and international organizations and advocates have worked tirelessly to secure the release of the Kremlin’s political prisoners, these efforts have had only limited success. The Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed, downplayed, or ignored calls by foreign governments and international organizations to release political prisoners.
A call to action
A common and coordinated advocacy strategy on political prisoners is especially critical in light of recent events. By speaking with one voice and taking concerted action, the Coalition can refocus the international discussion on what is happening inside Russia on this key issue and ensure that the Kremlin’s political prisoners are not forgotten.
For further information, please contact:
Spokesperson for the Coalition to Free the Kremlin’s Political Prisoners
+1 202 549 2417
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State; Current Senior Fellow, Václav Havel Program on Human Rights and Diplomacy, Florida International University
Chairman, Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom
Centre for Civil Liberties and Euromaidan SOS
President of Free Russia Foundation