Focus on Russia: Upcoming Campaigns

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


As many of you have followed over the summer with the sentencing of three members from Russian punk band/performance art group Pussy Riot (pictured), freedom of expression in Russia remains seriously threatened. While Pussy Riot’s case has attracted international attention and vocal protest from Hollywood glitterati, the case represents only the tip of the iceberg. Here are just a few sobering facts on the conditions faced by many writers, journalists and artists in Russia:

  • Three members of Pussy Riot are currently serving a two-year prison sentence for performing songs critical of the Putin regime in public, including in a Moscow cathedral. They had been detained in harsh conditions since March, months prior to the July trial. Their situation remains doubtful despite international outrage and calls for their immediate release.
  • In May, after President Vladimir Putin regained power in elections feared less than fair, over 50 journalists were detained. Others have been threatened with violence, suffered assaults, or have gone missing.
  • In October 2006, journalist and author Anna Politkovskaya was shot to death at her home after investigating possible human rights abuses by Russian military forces during the war in Chechnya.

We at Oxford Student PEN will be focusing some of our efforts in the coming year on helping to raise awareness around these heinous assaults on freedom of expression in Russia, as well as work to promote the writing in translation of Russian-language fiction and nonfiction writers. Here’s how you can get involved:

Visit PEN International’s website to join letter-writing campaigns, petitions, and other actions to help improve conditions for persecuted writers and journalists in Russia, and free Pussy Riot: (see this page).

Like “Oxford Student PEN” on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay informed about/get involved in upcoming campaigns! We look forward to your input and to seeing you at future events.

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