In the crucible of dissent, a Russian wordsmith finds himself ensnared in a formidable predicament, leading to an austere 7-year sojourn within the confines of incarceration. This ordeal unfolds as a consequence of his audacious recitation, defiantly articulating verses against Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
The severity of this punitive measure comes to light through the lens of Apnews, revealing the verdict of Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court against Artyom Kamardin. The charges leveled against him encompass the ostensibly grievous offenses of fomenting calls that undermine national security and incite hatred. These accusations are rooted in his poignant rendition of anti-war poetry during a street performance in downtown Moscow, an act of dissent that transpired in September 2022.
In tandem with Kamardin’s fate, Yegor Shtovba, a fellow participant in the dissenting spectacle, faces a consequential sentence of 5 1/2 years on identical charges.
The staging ground for this artistic resistance materialized adjacent to the monument dedicated to the renowned poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. The gathering unfolded in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s directive to mobilize 300,000 reservists, a response to Moscow’s military setbacks in Ukraine. This decision, widely disparaged, triggered a mass exodus from Russia, with hundreds of thousands seeking refuge to evade conscription into the military.
The performance, a dissenting outcry against the war, was swiftly quashed by the authorities, leading to the apprehension of Kamardin and several other participants.
Amidst the shadows of oppression, reports from Russian media echo the distressing account of Kamardin’s friends and his legal representative. Allegations of police brutality and sexual assault during his arrest cast a sinister pall over the proceedings. A police video, disseminated by pro-Kremlin media, captures Kamardin, visibly bruised, offering an apology for his perceived transgressions.
A disconcerting silence prevails as authorities refrain from probing into the alleged abuse by the police.
During the courtroom deliberations, a poignant moment unfolds as Kamardin’s wife, Alexandra Popova, voices her discontent, resulting in her escorted exit from the courtroom by bailiffs. The aftermath sees her and other dissenters detained on charges of staging an unsanctioned “rally” outside the court premises.
Between the tumultuous period from late February 2022 to the present, the OVD-Info rights group reports a staggering 19,847 detentions in Russia for dissent or protest against the war. Additionally, 794 individuals face criminal implications for their anti-war stance, as the draconian crackdown unfolds under a law enacted by Moscow shortly after the deployment of troops to Ukraine. This legislation effectively criminalizes any divergence from the sanctioned narrative on the war.