Leader of «New Opposition» Mark Galperin is a political prisoner


The activist is being prosecuted for incitement to «throw out those in the Kremlin over the Kremlin wall.»

The well-known Russian opposition activist Mark Galperin, founder and leader of the organizations «New Opposition» and «For a Change of Government," has been charged with an offence under Article 280 (Section 2) of the Russian Criminal Code (public incitement to extremist actions by means of the internet, punishable by up to five years in prison). According to the FSB, in two videos Mark Galperin called on Russians to change their government by violent means.

The phrases that the investigators consider, in particular, to be criminal in nature are: «I urge everyone to come out on to the streets and [join the] struggle;" «We must come together in the streets and train for confrontations of that kind, there will be confrontations with the riot police, and then there will be confrontations with the National Guard, and finally we shall win;" «I urge [people to take part] in a democratic revolution;" «I urge [people to] throw out those in the Kremlin over the Kremlin wall."

We consider that these statements by Mark Galperin do not constitute incitement to violence or to actions of an extremist nature.

For example, in the words, «there will be confrontations with the riot police, with the National Guard," there is clearly no incitement to attack officers of these law enforcement agencies. As a rule, in contemporary Russia, confrontations of this kind occur during the illegal dispersal by law enforcement agencies of lawful public events organized by the opposition. The phrase, «I urge [people to] throw out those in the Kremlin over the Kremlin wall," cannot be interpreted as a direct incitement to physically throw those people inside the Kremlin over the 19-meter-high brick wall. The author, evidently, is using the words «throw out» in a figurative sense, having in mind their removal from positions of authority.

Calls to take part in a democratic revolution, to join mass public demonstrations, to change the government, or to overthrow the president and the cabinet, without a direct indication that this should be done by means of violence through an armed attack on people, are not unlawful and cannot be considered criminal offences.

Memorial Human Rights Centre considers that the prosecution of Mark Galperin is related to his active engagement in non-violent opposition and his criticism of the government. Mark Galperin is a political prisoner.

We demand his immediate release.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.

For more information about this case, see here.

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Гальперин Марк Израилевич родился 20 апреля 1968 года. Житель Реутова Московской области. Окончил Автомеханический институт. После окончания института работал маркетологом и продавцом телекоммуникационного оборудования.