- Putin critic Vladimir Kura-Murza was arrested outside his home in Moscow on Monday.
- In an op-ed written from jail, he said he met many other anti-war activists.
- “The night, as you know, is darkest just before the light,” Kura-Murza wrote.
Putin critic and Washington Post columnist Vladimir Kara-Murza wrote from jail that hundreds of Russian anti-war protesters are being detained alongside him in a new op-ed published Friday by The Washington Post.
He was arrested on Monday — the same day that he was interviewed by CNN — where he called Putin’s government “a regime of murderers.” In his op-ed, he detailed how he was arrested and how the Kremlin spun it.
“When I returned home on Monday evening and began to park my car, five or six police officers of the Second Special Regiment of Moscow’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate, who had been waiting at the entrance, rushed at me, hustled me into their minibus, took away my phone and drove me to the Khamovniki police station,” Kara-Murza wrote in the op-ed.
In his most recent op-ed, which he submitted from jail through his lawyer, he claimed that his arrest was due to his anti-war position and that his sentencing process was highly political.
Kara-Murza has routinely campaigned against Putin’s regime and says he survived two poisonings in 2015 and 2017, according to The Post. Independent investigative units like Bellingcat claimed that FSB agents involved in Alexei Navalny’s poisoning also tailed Kara-Murza before poisoning him — a claim the Kremlin denies.
“In fact, no one hid it. When the officers of the Khamovniki Police Department, who brought me to Special Detention Center No. 2 in Khoroshevo-Mnevniki to serve out my sentence, rang the doorbell, they said: ‘Here’s a political for you,'” Kara-Murza wrote, referring to jailed anti-war protesters. ‘”They should have called you from headquarters.'”
Kara-Murza claimed that he spent the first day “in a stone box measuring 2-by-3 meters” and met other war critics, noting there were hundreds of protesters of all ages in jail for taking action against the war.
“When you are told that no one protests against the war in Russia, don’t believe it,” Kara-Murza wrote. “The night, as you know, is darkest just before the light.
He also offered a glimmer of hope in the fight against Putin’s regime and for free speech in the country.
“As Boris Nemtsov liked to say: ‘We can do it.’ Russia will be free. I’ve never been so sure of it as I am today,” he wrote.
Kara-Murza’s arrest came weeks after Putin introduced and the Russian parliament subsequently passed a draconian media censorship law that allows the government to jail journalists who report what the Kremlin deems to be “fake” news about the military.
Reporters and private citizens can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, and cannot use the word “war” publicly to describe the war in Ukraine.
Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan sent Insider a statement earlier in the week saying that Kara-Murza “has been relentless and courageous in his efforts to bring the truth about his country’s leadership to light.”
“Following poisonings and other grave threats, this outrageous detention is the latest move in Vladimir Putin’s ongoing effort to silence Kara-Murza and hide the truth about the atrocities Putin is committing in the Russian people’s name,” Ryan said in the statement. “No one should be deceived by the Russian government’s trumped-up charges and smears, and Kara-Murza should be released immediately.”
The columnist’s wife, Evgenia Kara-Murza, demanded her husband’s release in a tweet.
“Twice have the Russian authorities tried to kill my husband for advocating for sanctions against thieves and murderers, and now they want to throw him in prison for calling their bloody war a WAR,” she tweeted. “I demand my husband’s immediate release!”
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