Statement of Solidarity and Support from Agnes Oleschak

hello there,

my name is agnes,i have been to london in summer 2913,and i met ira in august when a friend of mine showed me the squat she lived in.i have been speaking to her a few times,causing me to feel a lot of sympathy for her.she seemed to be a very friendly,open-minded and dedicated person,little did i know she actually had to flee her home country.
although i didnt have the chance to get to really know her,ii was shocked reading about the incidents of the 7th december.i am deeply concerned about her well-being and whats going to happen to her.i already spread all the information about any social network i participate in and i will keep this updated,however,since i had to stay in my home country austria longer than i had planned i couldnot participate in the demonstrations tonight.i just wanted to express my deep concern as well as my best wishes for irina and i wish her all the very best and i mean it.i kindly ask you for her number since i want  to tell her in person as addition,i want to express my gratitude to everyone running the social network accounts and keeping them updated.i will continue to do the little i can to help ira to stay in the uk.

best wishes and love for ira,and my respect and gratitude to everyone who cares about her.



Article Supporting Irina from Russian Website Politota [TRANSLATION PENDING]

Лондон, Ирина Путилова: не допустить депортации

Известно, когда человек уезжает из России после угроз Центра “Э”, возвращаться ему опасно. Особенно если это активистка со стажем, пускай и молодая, но уже получавшая очень недвусмысленные угрозы от полицейских–эшников. Особенно если участвовала в акциях известной группы “Война” и на нее из–за этого открыли уголовное дело, как любит делать СК по поводу и без повода. Особенно если, не скрываясь, участвует в ЛГБТ–движении. Особенно если в прошлом году одному ее знакомому, после аналогичных угроз центра “Э”, “неизвестные” сломали ноги в темном питерском переулке. И вот уезжает, вернее, бежит такой человек в Англию, в Лондон. И там отнюдь не погрязает в быте, а еще активнее берется за разные полезные дела: помогает людям в беде, протестует против полицейского насилия, создает с друзьями социальный центр. Вот здесь некоторые ее путевые заметки. Обстоятельства жизни бывают разными. Но в данном случае человек очевидно находит свое, подлинное место, в кругу людей, близких ему по взглядам и готовности что–то сделать для других.


Statement of Support From Leonid Gegen, Russian Activist and Friend of Irina.

As a person who for long time lived in the same space with Irina Putilova, I know the her sitation very well. Ira is one of the member of Voina art-group. Two of girls from this group now imprisoned in Russia, some other people forced to leave the country or living in a deep underground, being not able to move somewhere. I am pretty sure that same – I mean immideate arrest –  will happen with Ira just when she ll arrive to any russian airport. Once russian police officers tried arrest her. Also should be known, that Irina  were regulary recieving letters with threatings from officers of anti-extremist department – kind of political police in Russia. Threatings mean promising to kill her, break her legs, different kind of abuses etc. Several time she recived direct phone calls from police officers with threatings. Its clear, that Irina leaved the country because it was extremely dangerous for her to stay here, because she was oppresed for her political activity, which includes fighting for LGBTQ-rights.

Live of open LGBTQ-people, especially of activists, in Russia is more looks like nightmare. Dont forget, that since this year we have discrimination law against LGBTQ, which prohibid so called “LGBT-propaganda”, but in fact used just for opressing LGBT-activists. Dont forget about several homofobic murders, which happen this year in different russian cities. Dont forget about thousands of neonazis, far-right activists, official politicans, who making difficulties, and most of the time attack any, any LGBTQ-event, whatever it is – demonstration or film screening in smal bar.

Dont forget about it. Irina have right for political asylum. Otherwise she will faced with homofobic violence and repressions in Russia.

Leonid Gegen, artist, LGBTQ-activist

Statement of Support from Catherine Owen, PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant at University of Exeter,

Statement of Support from Catherine Owen, PhD Candidate, University of Exeter

I have known Irina Putilova for several years. We lived together in St Petersburg.  Irina worked hard in Russia for freedom of artistic and political expression; her energy, creativity and dedication were a real inspiration to me. However, during this time, I witnessed first-hand how she was followed and sent death threats by members of the Centre Against Extremism. I  was also aware of how neo-nazi thugs hunted Irina and her friends on the streets. I saw how much this was frightening her, how she was forced into an underground existence and consequently became very concerned for her safety.

It is important to view her case in the context of the increasing persecution of political dissenters in Russia. There are currently hundreds of political prisoners in the country including Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot, and the 6th May protesters; indeed, just two days ago, President Putin confirmed that such prisoners will not be released in Russia’s up-coming amnesty. If Ira is returned to Russia there is no doubt that she will be added to this list. The international community should support those brave individuals fighting for justice and freedom in repressive regimes such as Russia’s. I therefore urge the Home Office to grant Irina political asylum.


A Letter of Support from the Post-Soviet Left Community in Mute

This letter was published by a group of artists, journalists, activists and academics supporting Ira’s release from Russia.

Irina Putilova, an LGBTQ activist and artist, is in detention at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. She is scheduled for fast-track removal to Russia where she faces certain imprisonment. The Post-Soviet left community calls on UK activists and public figures to make statements in support of Irina’s appeal and for her immediate release from Yarl’s Wood.

Irina Putilova left Russia after a criminal case was opened against her because of her involvement in a protest by Voina, the internationally renowned art group. In Russia, Ms. Putilova had been an active participant in the environmentalist, gender equality and anti-authoritarian movements, as well as the politically engaged art scene. Her public activism made her a target of surveillance and provocations on the part of the secret services in Saint Petersburg, where she lived until her departure from the country.

In Russia, the Centre for Extremism Prevention, aka Center ‘E’, internationally infamous for its gangster-like methods, currently functions as a political police force. In April 2012, Ms. Putilova began receiving direct threats of physical violence from Center ‘E’ officers. At the time, there was no reason to doubt the seriousness of these threats, since two months earlier, Filipp Kostenko, a friend and associate of Ms. Putilova’s, had been assaulted, brutally beaten and had his legs broken by ‘persons unknown’ after receiving similar threats. For a time, Ms. Putilova had to live with friends and acquaintances, and was constantly on the move, until pressure from Centre ‘E’ and the court case forced her to leave Russia.

Russian law enforcement has made the members of such protest groups their number one enemies. The trial and imprisonment of Pussy Riot and, earlier, the persecution of the art group Voina, have proven the willingness of the police to use violent means in targeting activists. Voina were subject to physical assaults and police attempted to remove the young child of two group members from their custody.

Police investigators have repeatedly visited Ms. Putilova’s parents, who live in Kaliningrad, threatening not only her but them as well. Anyone seen by law enforcement as linked to protest groups is subjected to the most serious dangers, which include not only arrest and imprisonment (involving numerous violations of the law on the part of police and investigators, and with no hope of a fair trial) but also extrajudicial physical violence, for which there have been many precedents in recent years. For this reason, deporting Ms. Putilova from Great Britain, where she has come to seek asylum, would pose a serious threat to her health and safety.  

Although we are people from different walks of life and hold various political views, many of us know Ms. Putilova personally, and all of us have a good understanding of the current dire political situation in Russia. We therefore appeal to you to ensure her health and safety, and to prevent her from being deported from Great Britain.

Alexander Bidin, activist (St. Petersburg-Moscow)

Alexandre Bikbov, sociologist (Moscow)

Ilya Budraitskis, writer, left activist (Moscow)

Maria Chehonadskih, theorist, activist (Moscow-London)

Keti Chukhrov philosopher (Moscow)

Nika Dubrovsky, artist, writer (Berlin)

Yevgeniy Fiks, artist (New York)

Olga Kopenkina, curator (New York)

Pavel Mitenko, artist, researcher (Moscow)

Kirill Medvedev, poet (Moscow)

Nikolay Oleynikov, artist, activist, Chto Delat (Moscow)

Alexei Penzin, philosopher (Moscow-London)

Perrine Poupin, PhD Student, Social Movements Research Center (Paris)

Vladimir Pribylovsky, politologist, journalist (Moscow)

Tatiana Schyrko, Belarusian feminist activist, sociologist (Minsk)

Vlad Sofronov, writer, activist (Moscow)

Irina Solomatina, feminist, sociologist and curator (Minsk) 

Dmitry Vilensky, artist, editor of the newspaper Chto Delat (St Petersburg)

Misha Verbitsky, PhD. (Harvard), professor National Research University (St Petersburg)


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