Newsletters / Support Us in Our Commitment to Protecting Human Rights in Russia

Today the world celebrates Human Rights Day. While many talk about the great progress that has been made in improving Human Rights, many activists in Russia still face the full might of the Kremlin for leading peaceful demonstrations, posting on social media and vocally supporting critics of the Putin regime.

The Open Russia Human Rights Team defends Human Rights activists in court, offering free and independent legal services to those targeted by the Kremlin for their critical stance towards the regime. Our legal services are funded solely by the generous contributions of our supporters. We ask that you consider making a contribution to our cause on Human Rights Day so that we can ensure that Human Rights defenders across Russia have access to independent legal assistance. Below you can read about some our biggest Human Rights cases this year.


Open Russia Lawyers to Defend Ukrainian Navy Officers in Court

On 25th November the Kremlin detained over 20 Ukrainian naval officers as a result of the Kerch incident in which a Russian warship rammed a Ukrainian tug boat. Open Russia Human Rights lawyer Sergey Badamshin is set to defend officer Vasily Soroka who was on board the Berdyansk tug boat at the time of the collision. Sergey is part of team that is defending the servicemen who fell victim to Kremlin violation of international law.

Lev Ponomarov: Open Russia Lawyers Defending Human Rights Veterans.

On 5th December Lev Ponomarev was sentenced to 25 days in prison after posts he made on social media in support of several teenagers who were being tried under dubious ‘extremism’ charges. Open Russia Human Rights lawyer Natalia Trubacheva has helped Lev write a request to have his 16-day sentence dropped. Lev wanted to say his goodbyes to the late Lyudmila Alekseeva – a fellow Human Rights veteran and friend of Lev. The review of Lev’s case is taking place today at 4pm (Moscow time) and has been arranged by Ms Trubacheva. Lev’s request has been denied by the Tver regional court.  This story is a sad reminder that even Human Rights giants need protection from the Kremlin.

Open Russia Human Rights Team Fights Kremlin Music Censorship.

Censoring music has become a new tool for the Kremlin to repress civil society. In November, our team defended popular rapper Husky in court, making significant contributions to the rapper’s early release and the dropping of two other charges. Open Russia HR lawyer Pavel Yasman also defended rappers Zamai and Gnoiny in court, after prosecutors ordered their song lyrics be ‘checked’ by authorities. Watch Husky’s explanation of the case here.

Epileptic Political Activist Freed After Pension Reform Rally.

Irina Norman was detained during a demonstration against the pension reforms on 9th September. Irina had an epileptic seizure while detained on a bus with dozens of other demonstrators. Open Russia Human Rights lawyer Yuliya Fedetova represented Irina in court. Yuliya argued that as an epileptic, conditions in prison could be life-threatening for Irina. Thanks to Yuliya’s legal assistance, Irina’s case was examined by the European Court of Human Rights. Three days before the European Court could make its ruling, Irina was released by the Kirovsky regional court.


The invaluable work of the Open Russia Human Rights Team is funded solely through the generous contributions of our supporters. The Kremlin is now targeting Russia’s cultural capital, censoring music and banning artists from performing. This is in addition to the widespread Human Rights violations in prisons and at pro-democracy demonstrations. Our lawyers are playing a vital role in upholding creative freedom and human rights in Russia. If you’d like to find out more about what our Human Rights team does, or if you’re considering making a contribution, please click here.