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Russian Scholar and Activist Sentenced Under Anti-Terrorism Legislation

Boris Kagarlitsky. Photo credits: Amnesty International

On February 13th, 2024, Russian sociologist and activist Boris Kagarlitsky was sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing the war in Ukraine. Kagarlitsky was arrested in July 2023 by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on suspicion of “justifying terrorism”. He was found guilty in December and was originally fined $6,700 and given no prison time. The charges are based on Kagarlitsky’s social media activity following the Crimean Kerch Bridge attack in October 2022. The prosecution appealed the original verdict and Russia’s Military Court of Appeal sentenced him to five years in a penal colony.


This severe verdict reflects Russia’s continued crackdown on the remaining dissident voices in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. According to Amnesty International, Russian authorities have grown increasingly hostile in their treatment of Kagarlitsky and other critics. For instance, in May 2022, Kagarlitsky was declared a “foreign agent” for being an open critic of the war in Ukraine. In reference to this severe prison sentence, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Director for Russia has said the “verdict is a blatant abuse of vague anti-terrorism legislation” and that by targeting Boris Kagarlitsky, a prominent academic, “the Russian authorities are showing, once again, their relentless assault on all forms of dissent.”


Endangered Scholars Worldwide condemns the sentencing of Boris Kagarlitsky and other critics of the war in Ukraine and of the Russian government, including scholars, activists, and journalists. ESW further calls upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and individuals dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights to protest Kagarlitsky’s sentencing and demand his immediate release.


Read our previous coverage of Boris Kagarlitsky here.


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