Australian Greens MPs, unionists sign on to demand Russian anti-war activist Boris Kagarlitsky's freedom

March 26, 2024
Boris Kagalitsky, Moscow-based sociologist, has been charged with terrorism offences relating to his opposition to the war on Ukraine. Photo: freeboris/info

Australian Greens Leader in the Senate Larissa Waters, Greens federal MP Max Chandler-Mather, NSW Greens state MP Jenny Leong, National Tertiary Education Union general secretary Damien Cahill and Geelong Trades Hall Council president Zeta Henderson are among those calling for the release of renowned Russian sociologist and anti-war activist Boris Kagarlitsky from a Russian prison.

They join Socialist Alliance councillors Sue Bolton (Merri-bek) and Sarah Hathway (Geelong), National Tertiary Education Union branch presidents Jonathan Strauss (James Cook University) and Nick Riemer (University of Sydney) and others demanding his release, along with all anti-war political prisoners.

The petition, launched on March 11 by the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign, is available in 18 languages. More than 8000 people have signed on.

Among those are former British Labour Party leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, French left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and MPs and leaders of left parties in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Russia, Spain and elsewhere.

Other signatories include trade union leaders such as Piotr Ostrowski, All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions President; Jan Simpson, President of Canadian Union of Postal Workers; and Baba Aye, Public Services International Health and Social Sector Officer.

Kagarlitsky was arrested last July on trumped-up charges — “justifying terrorism” — over comments he made in October 2022 on YouTube and Telegram about the Crimea Bridge bombing.

A military court found Kagarlitsky guilty on December 12 but, after a global campaign, only fined him $6550.

However, the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign said on March 23: “Kagarlitsky was [subsequently] sentenced to five years jail by a military appeals court on February 13. The judges heeded the prosecution case that his initial punishment … was ‘excessively lenient’.

“As a result, the international networks whose effort had helped keep the Russian writer from prison in his initial trial have come together in the present campaign. Its immediate purpose is to draw the attention of international left and progressive forces to the repression of their Russian colleagues, of whom Boris Kagarlitsky is probably the best known.”

The campaign “is calling on left and democratic forces globally to demand a halt to the repressive machine from which their Russian counterparts suffer because they draw attention to the serious problems accumulating in Russia due to its war in Ukraine…

“Without international attention, Russia’s anti-war political prisoners will be left alone to face a government that condemns them not only to imprisonment, but also to the prospect of death…"

Kagarlitsky’s appeal is expected to be heard in early May. The campaign is pushing for more sign-ons over the next six weeks — for Kagarlitsky and all Russia’s anti-war political prisoners.

[Sign the petition at or and email Federico Fuentes for more information on the Boris Kagarlitsky International Solidarity Campaign.]

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