Poet and teacher Aleksandr Byvshev is a political prisoner

Byvshev, a resident of the town of Kromy, Oryol region, has been remanded in custody on charges of inciting terrorism for a poem he published

The ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ human rights project considers Aleksandr Byvshev a political prisoner in accordance with international standards. His criminal prosecution under Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code violates his right to freedom of expression and is aimed at suppressing and intimidating domestic opponents of Russia’s war against Ukraine. His prosecution is absolutely disproportionate to the actions imputed to him.

We demand that all criminal charges against Aleksandr Byvshev be dropped immediately and that he be released from custody.

What is the case against Aleksandr Poletaev?

Aleksandr Byvshev has consistently expressed opposition views and an anti-war stance in his poems over a long time. For this, he has been repeatedly prosecuted under both administrative and criminal laws. At least six criminal cases have been brought against him, and he has been convicted twice for ‘extremism’ — incitement to hatred or enmity (Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code) — for poems he published on the Internet. As a result of these prosecutions, Aleksandr Byvshev has, among other things, been officially banned by the courts from practising his profession as a teacher.

In early 2023, a criminal case under Article 205.2, Part 2, of the Russian Criminal Code was opened against Aleksandr Byvshev for a four-line poem he published on Facebook:

«По Украине бьют ракеты.                   ‘Missiles rain on Ukraine.

Кремль совесть и мораль отверг.         The Kremlin rejects all conscience, morals.

Честь офицерская, ну где ты?               Officer’s honour, where are you then?

Где русский твой Штауффенберг?»      Russia, where is your Stauffenberg?’

According to the Investigative Committee, in making reference to Klaus von Stauffenberg in this poem Byvshev has called for the assassination of Vladimir Putin.

Since 2 February 2023, Aleksandr Byvshev has been held on remand.

Why do we consider Aleksandr Byvshev a political prisoner?

The charges against Byvshev are untenable because his statement is not in principle a call to any action, but merely an artistic expression of the author’s feelings. The poem’s context, the degree of the author’s influence and the potential for realisation of the attributed appeal allow us to assert that Byvshev’s words, even in theory, present no danger to the public. Consequently, it is not possible to consider the poem to be a crime.

Aleksandr Byvshev is being prosecuted to punish him for consistently expressing oppositionist and anti-war sentiments in verse, and in order to stop these statements. Evidently, Byvshev’s consistency in expressing his views, despite increasing official pressure over many years, has been particularly irritating to law enforcement agencies.

A detailed description of this case and the position of the Human Rights Project are available on our website.

Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner does not imply the ‘Political Prisoners. Memorial’ project agrees with or approves of their views, statements, or actions.

How can you help?

You can send a letter to Aleksandr Byvshev at the following address  (letters must be written in Russian):

In Russian: 302040, г. Орёл, ул. Красноармейская, д 10, ФКУ СИЗО-1 УФСИН России по Орловской области, Бывшеву Александру Михайловичу 1972 г.р.

In English: Aleksandr Mikhailovich Byvshev (born 1972), Remand Prison No. 1, Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for Oryol region, 10 Krasnoarmeiskaya St., Oryol, 302040, Russia.

You can also send a letter via F-pismo.ru.

Here you can donate to support all political prisoners in Russia.

  • Бывшев
    Александр Михайлович