An open letter from Russian university students demanding the release of political prisoners and an end to the persecution of suspects identified in the "Moscow Case"
As undergraduate and graduate students at Russian universities, we demand an immediate end to the "Moscow Case" prosecutions, and the full exoneration of all defendants named in these investigations.
In early August, the arrests of four Moscow students on charges of "mass rioting" shocked the city's entire university community. Many students campaigned to raise awareness about these cases
, attending court hearings, and staging protests and public gatherings under the banner of "Freedom to students! Freedom to universities!"
Today, however, we can ill afford to limit ourselves to this slogan. "Freedom to all!" is what we must demand now, in the wake of our community's first victories, having secured the release
of A. N. Kosygin Moscow State Textile University student Valery Kostenok and Bauman Moscow State Technical University student Daniil Konon, as well as Higher School of Economics student Yegor Zhukov's transfer to house arrest and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology alumnus Aidar Gubaidulin's release on his own recognizance.
We will continue to demand the immediate release and withdrawal of all charges against Azat Miftakhov
, Yegor Zhukov
, and Aidar Gubaidulin
, but we also believe that the entire "Moscow Case," from top to bottom, has been fabricated by the authorities in order to intimidate those who express dissent.
As recent events show, officials have failed to achieve this goal, and anger — not fear — has gripped the public, instead. In the past day, groups of priests, teachers, doctors, IT professionals, book publishers, philanthropists, lawyers, and journalists have signed open letters demanding an end to these political persecutions. Led by actors from the screen and stage
, hundreds of people have waited hours in lines outside the presidential administration building to picket in protest. This follows public statements from students at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow State University, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in support of fellow students and against the city's rioting charges. Now, after the first successes of the general campaign against the "Moscow Case," and also after the first prison sentences handed down to demonstrators, we cannot stand aside.