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.

Fears for the life of Alexei Gorinov, serving 7-year sentence for telling the truth about Russia’s war against Ukraine

Halya Coynash
Alexei Gorinov has been savagely punished for condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, yet the authorities have now concocted new, absurd, charges of ‘justifying terrorism’

Alexei Gorinov in court with a sign asking ’Do you still need this war?’ (which a court guard tried to hide) Photo AFP

Alexei Gorinov in court with a sign asking ’Do you still need this war?’ (which a court guard tried to hide) Photo AFP

Russian prison authorities are refusing to provide 62-year-old Alexei Gorinov with medical care despite grounds for grave concern about the political prisoner’s condition.  This is almost certainly not just negligence since the medication which Gorinov had when brought to the prison was taken away and has not been returned.  Alexei Gorinov is the first Russian to have received a long sentence under the worst of four new charges rushed into law to try to silence protest over Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  Although Article 207.3 claims to punish what is called ‘circulation of knowingly false information’ about the war, Gorinov and others after him have, in fact, been savagely punished for telling the truth about the war and Russia’s war crimes.

Gorinov’s lawyer sounded the alarm after visiting the 62-year-old political prisoner in Prison Colony No. 2 in Pokrov (Vladimir oblast) on 8 December.  The lawyer was, reportedly, forced to wait in a cold room and only allowed to see Gorinov half an hour before the end of the working day.  Gorinov was in a very poor state, with his skin a bluish colour.  He had difficulty, not only in speaking, but even in sitting upright, and several times virtually keeled over.  Gorinov’s request for medical treatment are all but ignored, with a prison doctor turning up; taking his temperature; claiming this to be normal, with no treatment required.  His medication, as reported, has not been given back to him.  The lawyer also approached prison staff about his client’s shocking state but was fobbed off with the claim that Gorinov was being given “all necessary help”.

Gorinov himself told his lawyer that he has acute bronchitis, with a temperature, constant shaking, and difficulty breathing.  All of this is compounded by it being very cold in the prison.  Human rights activists point out that the situation is particularly grave given that Gorinov has a chronic lung condition, and in 2016 had part of one lung removed.  They stress that the prison authorities are well aware of this. 

The Memorial Support for Political Prisoners Project and For Human Rights are calling on people to intervene on Alexei’s behalf (details below). 

Gorinov (b. 29.06.1961) is a lawyer by profession, who was a deputy of the Krasnoselsky District Council in Moscow.  He was charged over words spoken during a meeting of the Council on 15 March, less than three weeks after Russia launched its full-scale war of aggression and 11 days after the draconian silencing laws were signed into force.  Gorinov had been rapporteur on a plan for a children’s picture competition in the second quarter of 2022.  He recommended that the council reject the proposal, saying the following:

“What kind of leisure and entertainment can there be when we are now in a qualitatively different way of life, when military action is being carried out on the territory of a neighbouring sovereign state, and our country is carrying out aggression? Just tell me, please, what kind of children’s picture competition there can be and what organizing of dance programs to mark Victory Day when children are being killed every day? Just for information, I would say that around one hundred children have been killed in Ukraine and children are being orphaned. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans of the Second World War have now been flung into the hell of this military action on Ukraine’s territory. I think that all the efforts of civil society should be directed solely at stopping the war and at withdrawing Russian forces from Ukrainian territory”.

By 26 April, Gorinov had been arrested and charged under the newly adopted Article 207.3 § 2 (several sub-sections) of Russia’s criminal code (‘public circulation of knowingly false information about the use of the Russian Federation armed forces by a group of people with the use of their official position out of motives of political hatred.

The words that triggered the prosecution were essentially a statement of opinion however not one of the factual assertions about the war was false.  The current regime is, however, using this new charge against those who speak the truth, with the alleged ‘proof’ that something is ‘knowingly false’ being that the person’s statements differed from the official position presented by Russia’s defence ministry.  The latter has, since 24 February 2022 been repeating the same lies, claiming against all evidence, that Russia is not hitting civilians. 

Despite the absurdity of the charge, Gorinov was convicted by ‘judge’ Olga Mendeleyeva from the Meshchansky District Court and sentenced to seven years imprisonment in a medium security prison colony.

The appeal hearing on 19 September upheld this conviction, merely reducing the sentence by one month.

In October 2023, it was learned that Gorinov is facing new charges, this time of supposedly ‘justifying terrorism’.  Gorinov himself suggested that the new charge had been concocted precisely because it was so obvious to everyone that the earlier charge against him was nonsense, with the aim being to demonstratively warn off others and terrify them into silence.  Russia recently added several years to the sentence against Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Prykhodko on a charge of ‘justifying terrorism’, with the alleged ‘evidence’ coming from fellow cellmates who either collaborate with the prison administration or can be very easily manipulated (through threats of new charges, promises of earlier release, etc.)  Similar methods will undoubtedly be applied in order to increase the already appalling sentence against 62-year-old Gorinov.

Please help by publicizing the situation and, if possible, by writing letters of complaint / intervention on Alexei’s behalf  or phoning the following:

i. УФСИН по Владимирской области,

600033, г. Владимир, ул. Диктора Левитана, 41;

Email: [email protected].

ВРИО начальника Управления Мишанов Алексей Александрович.

ii.  Председателю ОНК Владимирской области Яжану Сергею Ашотовичу. 600022, г. Владимир, проспект Ленина, д. 59, офис №39, 

email: [email protected].

Телефон горячей линии работает круглосуточно: 8-4922-54-00-29. Тел. для дополнительной связи: 8-999-77-66-100

Iii,  Уполномоченный по правам человека во Владимирской области: Романова Людмила Валерьевна, 600017, г. Владимир, ул. Луначарского, дом 3, оф. 205, 

Email:  [email protected].

Тел.: 8 (4922) 53-11-31.

Letters to Alexei Gorinov

ФКУ Исправительная колония № 2 УФСИН России по Владимирской области, 601120, Владимирская область, Петушинский район, г. Покров, ул. Франца Штольверка д. 6.

Горинов, Алексей Александрович  г.р. 1961

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