Status: In Prison
Alexey Kungurov is a blogger from Russian Siberia who was charged with public calls to terrorism (Part 1, Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code) for his LiveJournal blog post titled “Who are Putin’s Falcons Actually Bombing,” in which he criticized Russian military operations in Syria. On December 20, 2016, Kungurov was convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in a penal colony.
In his blog, Alexey Kungurov strongly criticized the domestic and foreign policy of modern Russian authorities. Russian human rights organization Memorial, who listed Kungurov among other Russian political prisoners, has noted that he doesn’t support ISIS (banned in Russia) or other terrorist groups in Syria, and in his post only presented his analysis of the situation in the Middle East. The criminal case against him fits into the overall trend of the persecution of independent journalists and bloggers.
The post that Kungurov was charged for was published in October 2015; however, he was detained 5 months later, the day after publishing another post called “What should Russia do with Donbass and Crimea?” Kungurov is named as one of the members of the “Committee of January 25,” an informal association of national-patriotic activists and leaders of Russian politics created by Igor Strelkov, a Russian army veteran who played a key role in the Russian occupation of Crimea. Kungurov himself denied this information.
On March 3, 2016, local police carried out a raid in Kungurov’s apartment and he was placed under house arrest. Later, on June 15, he was detained and has been kept in a detention facility in his native Tyumen for almost a year. Kungurov’s wife, Asiya claims that the detention facility staff used psychological pressure, threatening Kungurov to stay in prison until the end of his sentence. His arrest came alongside the arrest of another popular blogger Anton Nosik, who was accused of extremism and charged 500,000 rubles ($8,000) for a controversial blogpost supporting Russian operations in Syria.
According to Novaya Gazeta, Kungurov’s personal blog has more than 7 million unique visitors a year.