war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

New reprisals against Russian activist & friend of Ukraine jailed for peaceful protest

Halya Coynash

Ildar Dadin, the first Russian to be serving a 3-year prison sentence for totally peaceful protests has been placed in a punishment isolation cell and will from now on be held in harsher conditions.  Appropriately enough, the young political prisoner has been moved to a prison in Karelia where President Vladimir Putin’s first and most famous political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky was held for some time. 

The Memorial Human Rights Centre has called on people to support Dadin and reiterate their condemnation of the thoroughly unconstitutional article of the Criminal Code under which he was prosecuted.

It appears that Dadin has already been penalized several times for supposed “disrespect for prison officials”.  Memorial points out that the strict conditions imposed mean that Dadin can only phone relatives in exceptional circumstances, and his right to visits and parcels from home is seriously restricted.  Now that these conditions have been imposed, they will continue for a minimum of six months.   The human rights group also notes that there are doubts as to the legitimacy of the punishment, with there being no information as to what any specific infringement in fact was.

Memorial has already declared Dadin a political prisoner and is now asking people to send a letter to the prison head demanding compliance with the law and observance of Dadin’s rights (see below). 

As reported here, Dadin was sentenced on Dec 7, 2015 to 3 years’ medium security imprisonment.  Judge Natalya Dudar from Moscow’s notorious Basmanny Court added a year to the two-year sentence demanded by the prosecutor.  Judges at that court do not ‘pass’ sentences, they pass them on, and the decision to come down hard on the young activist almost certainly came from higher up.

Dadin is well-known to Ukrainians for his active support for Euromaidan.  Judging by the number of times this support came up during the trial, this almost certainly contributed to the harshness of the sentence (details here). 

In his final address to the court, Dadin stressed that he was not asking for anything, but simply defending his constitutional rights. 

He was, and the new article 212.1 of the criminal code directly violates Russia’s Constitution.  The new article, introduced in July 2014, allows for hefty fines or even 30-day terms of imprisonment on administrative charges.  Most worryingly it envisages criminal prosecution for totally peaceful protest, which is in theory guaranteed under the Constitution.  

Article 212.1 envisages a sentence of up to 5 years if a court has issued three rulings on administrative offences within 180 days.  He was accused of taking part in protests on Aug 6, Aug 23, Sept 13 and Dec 5 2014.  It is quite standard in today’s Russia for police to detain people at entirely peaceful protests, with administrative protocols then drawn up and processed by the courts with no questions asked.   It is also customary, and clearly happened in Dadin’s case, for the police to use provocateurs who walk up to a person holding a single-person picket and either cause trouble, or simply wait until the police react to what is no longer one solitary individuals. 

The conviction was upheld at the end of March by Judge Natalya Borisova from the Moscow City Court, though reduced by 6 months. Borisova rejected Dadin’s application to be present in court, and his final words were spoken by video link from the SIZO [remand prison]. 

I am here because I live in accordance with my conscience”, he said. “Until you come out and state your position, you are an accomplice to fascism. If we don’t catch our officials in the act, if we allow executioners to kill people, we are responsible”.  He called the sentence anti-constitutional, unlawful, unwarranted and criminal.


A sample letter in Russian noting that we have heard about the punishment and harsher conditions and feel it necessary to remind the prison administration of their obligation to strictly comply with the law with respect to all prisoners, including Ildar Dadin.  They remind them also that the law prohibits violations of prisoners’ rights and freedoms.

Address: ИК-7 УФСИН России по Республике Карелия

ФКУ ИК-7 УФСИН России по Республике Карелия: 186420, Республика Карелия, г. Сегежа, ул. Лейгубская.

Сергею Леонидовичу Коссиеву

Sample letter

"Уважаемый Сергей Леонидович!

Я узнал(а), что в вашей колонии отбывает наказание Ильдар Дадин, осуждённый по антиконституционной статье 212.1 Уголовного кодекса. Более того, мне известно, что он переведён на строгие условия содержания и сейчас находится в ШИЗО, причём уже в третий раз с момента своего прибытия в колонию.

У меня есть определённые вопросы по поводу законности перевода Ильдара на строгие условия содержания и процедуры его водворения в ШИЗО, поэтому я считаю нужным напомнить вам об обязанности администрации колонии строго соблюдать закон в отношении всех заключённых, в том числе и Ильдара Дадина.

Закон запрещает нарушать права и свободы заключённых, нарушение же таких прав и свобод влечёт за собой административную и уголовную ответственность виновных в соответствии с российским законодательством".


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