The Sentencing of Opposition Politician Vladimir Kara-Murza

Ambassador Lynne Tracy giving remarks to the press after the court's decision on Vladimir Kara-Murza

APRIL 17TH, 2023

The court’s decision today to sentence Vladimir Kara-Murza to 25 years in prison for expressing an opinion critical of the policies of his government is another terrible sign of the repression that has taken hold in Russia. We call for his immediate release.

The right to have political opinions, or to disagree with the decisions of one’s own government, are fundamental freedoms enshrined in both the Russian constitution and international treaties to which Russia is a party.

This ruling is an attempt to silence dissent in this country and to make an example of those with the courage to offer an alternative to the policies of the Russian government. As Kara-Murza has argued, speaking truth to power is the act of a patriot, not a traitor.

Criminalizing criticism of government action is a sign of fear, not strength. Whose opinions will be next in this environment of suppression? Sadly, Russia is on a path of snuffing out free speech and taking Russia back to some of its darkest moments.

I support the right of Kara-Murza and every Russian to have a voice in the direction of their country. Kara-Murza and countless other Russians believe in and hope for a future where fundamental freedoms in Russia are upheld. We share those hopes.