Russia: opposition increasingly mistreated, dissident Oleg Orlov sentenced to two and a half years in prison

Russian power continues to stifle all voices criticizing the offensive in Ukraine.

Dissident Oleg Orlov has just been sentenced to two and a half years in prison to be served in a penal colony, an isolated detention center where living conditions are very difficult.

Oleg Orlov was one of the pillars of the NGO Memorial, co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 after its dissolution by Russian justice.

According to the NGO, Oleg Orlov was handcuffed after the court decision which ordered him to be immediately detained.

Russian opponent Oleg Orlov has been in the crosshairs of justice since the publication in 2022 of an article in which he affirmed that Russia, under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, had descended into fascism.

REUTERS - Tatyana Makeyeva

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When the verdict was announced on Tuesday February 27, Oleg Orlov, wearing a sweater and thin glasses, winked at his wife Tatiana and then said: “

Tania, you promised me!

», appearing to ask him not to cry, according to an AFP journalist at the hearing.

Several dozen people gathered in front of the court to support this 70-year-old human rights defender.

As he left the room, handcuffed and surrounded by police, he was applauded and accompanied by shouts: “

We love you!”



We have returned to the Soviet regime, where those who are not on the side of power are accused of lies

 ,” denounced

Ian Ratchinski,

another human rights defender.

Svetlana Gannouchkina

, one of the oldest Russian human rights defenders, also co-founder of Memorial, denounced a trial which “

has nothing to do with the law


To be tried for statements calling for peace and criticizing the authorities is absurd.

But every tyrant needs enemies

,” she said.

Oslo, December 12, 2022: the three winners of the Nobel Peace Prize: Oleksandra Matviitchouk from the Ukrainian Center, Ian Ratchinski from the NGO Memorial and Natalia Pintchouk who will receive the award for her husband who is in prison, Ales Beliatski.

© AP - Markus Schreiber

Mr. Orlov's wife, Tatiana, expected a conviction and had made this known to AFP.

According to her, her husband was nevertheless in a good mood and had " 

slept well

", despite the prosecution's indictment which had required almost three years in prison.

Russian justice criticizes him for his denunciations of the invasion of Ukraine in an article published by the French media


the Russian translation of which he shared on his Facebook page.

Read alsoRussia: new accusations against Oleg Orlov, the co-founder of the dissolved NGO Memorial

At the beginning of February, Oleg Orlov was placed on the blacklist of “foreign agents” but explained that he did not want to leave the country: “

I am more effective here

,” he said, judging that he was “


 ” that critical voices persist despite systematic repression.

When the

death of the opponent Alexeï Navalny

was announced in his Arctic prison on February 16, he did not hesitate to speak of "


", and called on supporters of the Russian opposition to "

not lose courage and optimize


During a first trial, Oleg Orlov was found guilty in October 2023 of having “discredited” the army and sentenced to a small fine, a verdict considered very lenient.

The prosecution finally decided to appeal. 


with agencies



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