Kremlin critic in prison in northwest Russia, allies say

Feb 19, 2023, 8:22 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2023, 10:26 am

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Allies and family members of an opposition politician imprisoned in Russia say he is being held in a restricted housing unit in a penal colony in the northwest of the country, isolated from most inmates and not allowed to make phone calls.

Andrei Pivovarov, who was sentenced to four years in prison last year, was transferred from a detention center in southern Russia in late December, and his allies, family and lawyers lost touch with him three weeks later, not knowing anything about his whereabouts or well-being for a month.

Russian prison transfers are notorious for taking a long time, sometimes weeks, during which there’s no access to prisoners, and information about their whereabouts is limited. Amnesty International in a statement last week likened them to the “practices of the Gulag” and said that Pivovarov’s situation amounted to an enforced disappearance.

Pivovarov’s ally and partner Tatyana Usmanova said on Monday that the politician’s mother was able to confirm that he arrived at the IK-7 penal colony in Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia on Jan. 24. He has been placed in a restricted housing unit for nearly three months over undisclosed violations he allegedly committed, she said.

The 41-year-old politician wasn’t allowed to let his relatives know where he was, Usmanova said in a Facebook post, and he wouldn’t be allowed to make phone calls or have visitors while in restricted housing.

Pivovarov was pulled off a Warsaw-bound flight at St. Petersburg’s airport just before takeoff in May 2021 and taken to the southern city of Krasnodar.

Several days earlier, the opposition group he headed, Open Russia, had disbanded to protect its members from prosecution after Russian authorities designated it as an “undesirable” organization. The government cited a 2015 law that made membership in such organizations a criminal offense.

In Krasnodar, Pivovarov was accused of supporting a local candidate on behalf of an “undesirable” organization — charges he rejected as politically motivated and triggered by his plans to run for the Russian parliament in 2021. He was convicted and sentenced in July 2022.

Pavel Chikov, a leading human rights advocate in Russia, said on Telegram that IK-7 in Karelia is a notorious penal colony where the former tycoon-turned-opposition-politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky served part of his sentence as well as opposition activist Ildar Dadin.

Dadin in 2016 complained of beatings and other harsh treatment at the facility, and his harrowing account of serving time at IK-7 made international headlines.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
2 days ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
3 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
4 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
4 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
5 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Kremlin critic in prison in northwest Russia, allies say