Russian poets imprisoned for reading anti-war poetry
For participating in a Moscow reading of anti-war poetry, two Russian poets have been sentenced to lengthy incarceration.
For their respective “appeals against state security” and “incitement to hatred” against Russian military, a Moscow court sentenced Artyom Kamardin to seven years in prison and Yegor Shtovba to five and a half years. A not-guilty plea was entered by both.
As rights organisations have condemned an unprecedented crackdown on dissent in Russia, the two individuals are the most recent to receive prison sentences. Following his guilty plea and cooperation with the investigation, Nikolai Dayneko, the third poet to participate in the poetry reading, received a four-year sentence earlier this year.
Triumfalnaya Square, formerly Mayakovsky Square, in central Moscow, where dissidents and activists have congregated since the 1950s, was the site of the Mayakovsky Readings, where Kamardin, 33, recited a poem on September 25, 2022.
As a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that same month regarding a “partial mobilisation” effort for the Ukraine conflict, 23-year-old Shtovba was also present at the event.
A poem containing the obscene inscription “Glory to the Kievan Rus,” which referred to a Slavic state of the ninth century whose capital was Kiev, was recited by Kamardin. The poem bluntly criticised Russian imperialism in southern Ukraine.
His spouse, Alexandra Popova, informed the sources at the moment of his apprehension that law enforcement had entered their apartment the day after. Ms. Popova stated that on the floor they began supergluing decals to her face while dragging her by her hair. They also threatened to adhere her jaw shut.
She had overheard her spouse being beaten in another room and the police were discussing raping him. The police, according to Kamardin’s attorney, assaulted his client with a dumbbell before compelling him to record an apology video. The court was presented with statements by both defendants prior to their sentencing on Thursday.
Shtovba, age 23, stated that he attended the Mayakovsky Readings for the first time last year. He stated that he had not read a poem and had simply applauded the performances, adding that there was no evidence to suggest he was culpable of inciting hostility against Ukrainian military personnel.
Kamardin requested that the judge contemplate a suspended sentence. He stated that it was “all too prevalent practice in contemporary Russia to judge someone based on their opinions” and predicted that he would be found guilty “despite my complete innocence.”
Since 1958, Mayakovsky Readings have been conducted intermittently. People would assemble in the 1960s around the statue of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky to recite poems that frequently criticised the Soviet Union.
Alone with the comprehensive incursion into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed an unprecedented suppression of domestic opposition.
Sasha Skochilenko, a 33-year-old Russian anti-war activist, was given a seven-year sentence in a penal colony last month for substituting anti-war messages on supermarket price labelling.
For his critique of the Ukraine conflict, opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza received a 25-year prison sentence. Numerous other detractors of Mr. Putin’s regime have also been incarcerated, with the number significantly increasing since the commencement of Russia’s comprehensive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.