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We stand in support of students that face any form of politically motivated persecution for peaceful protests. The project was conceived after the arrest of Russian student activist Yegor Zhukov on August 3 for allegedly coordinating and participating in a peaceful demonstration for a transparent and fair election process in Moscow.

Two other students – Daniil Konon and Valery Kostenok have been arrested on the same charges. They have spent a month in a detention facility but have been released on September 3 due to the dismission of their cases – public opinion is believed to have played a role in their release.

The same day, Zhukov has also been cleared of the charges of "mass riots", but an investigation into the content of his youtube blog has been opened – the authorities suppose that it contains calls for unlawful actions against the government of Russian Federation. He has been placed under a house arrest and is facing up to 5 years of prison.

NOTE: The situation is still developing. This website will be updated as new confirmed information arrives.
You can follow the updates and read op-ed pieces related to the situation on our blogpage.
Across the political spectrum, people agree that representation and accountability are crucial for governance that benefits the public.

Shutting down voices that defend their right to choice will not benefit anyone, but rather rob communities of meaningful debate and change.
On this page we ask you to support Yegor Zhukov and other students facing persecution for raising their voice.

Here, you can also receive (bi)weekly updates on the case and short pieces on studies on human rights, student and/or academic movements.
The student activists Yegor Zhukov, Daniil Konon and Valery Kostenok have all been arrested on charges presupposing up to 8 years in prison for alleged participation in a peaceful demonstration that took place in Moscow on July 27.

All three were detained by Russian authorities in the beginning of August and were expected to remain in prison at least until September 27 as the judge declared that they might not comply with the investigation.

On September 3, Kostenok and Konon have been cleared of all charges and released. The investigation against Zhukov has shifted towards the content of his blog – the release on the new case can be found here.


Yegor Zhukov is an undergraduate student at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in his home city, Moscow, Russia. He is majoring in Political Science. In the university community, Yegor is known as a winner of a country-wide academic competition in Social Sciences. His professors acknowledge his high academic achievements and remarkable debating skills. Outside of the university, Zhukov runs a Youtube vlog where he discusses Russian politics and promotes non-violence and dialogue as the foundation for socio-political movements. As of August 2019, Yegor's blog has over 100 000 subscribers.

Zhukov identifies as a libertarian, but earlier this year he ran for a deputy mandate in Moscow City Duma (regional parliament) as a part of independent group that promised to deal with corruption and increase transparency in the region. At the end of June, Yegor Zhukov announced his withdrawal from the election race due to a failure to collect the required number of signatures in his support.
Daniil Konon, 22, is an undergraduate student of electronic technology in mechanical engineering at Moscow State Technical University. He is known as a student union representative and organised several university-wide events. In the months leading to the protests and his arrest, Daniil worked as a signature collector for an independent candidate Ivan Zhdanov.
Valery Kostenok, 20, is an undergraduate engineering student at the Russian State Kosygin University. He is a member of the oppositional "Yabloko" party. In the months preceding the protests Kostenok was working as a volunteer for the campaign of Kirill Goncharov, a "Yabloko" politician who was running for the Moscow regional elections. Goncharov, same as other oppositional candidates, was not registered by the Central Election Commission.
When in July the District Election Commissions began declining applications for most independent candidates for the Moscow City Duma from various political backgrounds, a peaceful rally against election fraud and demanding the integrity of the candidate registration procedures occurred on July 27. Several thousands of citizens have assembled in the streets of Moscow to join the rally.

Demonstrators were subjected to a violent crackdown by law-enforcement with nearly 1 400 detained. Amnesty International has condemned the actions of the Moscow government, but a criminal investigation into 'mass riots' was opened by the Central Investigative Committee. The criteria for prosecution declared by the authorities in relation to this case are unclear and could potentially target any participant with a prison sentence of 3 to 8 years.

On August 1, Yegor Zhukov made a statement in his vlog calling to continue demanding competitive and transparent elections and unity among all opposition supporters. In his message, he warned: 'Where fear wins, silence falls'. Around 2 am the following night, Zhukov notified his friends with a brief text saying his apartment was stormed by a law-enforcement agency. He was taken for an interrogation that lasted for several hours. Later that day, he was placed into custody in remand prison until September 27 by a court order despite the plea of university vice-rector Valeria Kasamara to release him on bail. The prosecution accuses Yegor Zhukov along with several others of participation in a "mass riot".

Daniil Konon, a 22-year old student, was arrested on August 3 on the same charges as Yegor Zhukov. Daniil is facing up to 8 years in prison for alleged participation in a peaceful demonstration that authorities classified as "mass riots". In the morning of August 3, police came to conduct a search in his apartment. Later that day Konon was arrested on charges of participating in "mass riots" in Moscow on July 27. Exercising his constitutional rights, Daniil decided not to testify. His presence at the July 27 demonstration is not confirmed. On August 5, the court ruled to keep Konon in remand prison at least until September 27.
On August 11 an undergraduate engineering student Valery Kostenok, 20, was arrested after law enforcement stormed and searched his apartment. Similarly to Yegor Zhukov and Daniil Konon, he is charged with "mass riots" and is facing up to 8 years in prison. The reason for bringing these charges against Valery is that he threw two plastic bottles in the direction of the police during the brutal crackdown on the protesters on July 27. Kostenok admitted throwing the bottles, however, he stated that when he threw them he was in a state of extreme emotional disturbance and does not believe his actions could harm the police officers physically or emotionally. On August 12 the court ruled to put Valery in detention for 2 months, even though the prosecution suggested releasing the student on bail.
September 3 has brought both good and bad news. We are happy to report that Daniil Konon and Valery Kostenok have been cleared of the charges and released.

At the same time, the new allegations against Yegor Zhukov still can result in a long prison sentence and his current restrictive house arrest prevents him from continuing his university studies.
We are currently aware that many more students are facing administrative persecution and/or are threatened with dire consequences from university officials for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
As an international community of current students, university alumni and staff we condemn the prosecution of Yegor Zhukov and any other possible persecution of students and young activists on political grounds. We believe that voicing one's opinion along with contributing to communities through studies and demanding civil liberties and rights in a peaceful way must never lead to imprisonment or any administrative punishment. We express solidarity with Zhukov and all students threatened with politically-motivated imprisonment and other forms of oppression worldwide.
The authors of this petition recognize that signing such letters can often seem as a pointless activity. What we know for sure is that injustice fears light and thrives in silence. In all political regimes, media coverage and public attention can save lives. We also believe that people facing threats and held in places of confinement need to know that they are not alone. Expressions of solidarity will help to maintain the strength required to face what the future brings.