Russian Opposition Figure Unrepentant After Sentence

Vladimir Kara-Murza gets 25 years, longest term yet for speaking out against the war in Ukraine
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2023 7:20 AM CDT
Russian Opposition Figure Unrepentant After Sentence
Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza stands in a glass cage in a courtroom at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on Monday, April 17, 2023.   (The Moscow City Court via AP)

One of Russia's most vocal opposition figures has just learned the price for criticizing the war in Ukraine: 25 years in a penal colony. Vladimir Kara-Murza received the sentence in a Moscow court on Monday—the longest one doled out to an opposition figure since the Russian invasion, reports the BBC. The 41-year-old was arrested after giving speeches in the US and Europe in which he accused Russia of deliberately bombing civilian areas and other war atrocities, per Reuters. And in a CNN interview only hours before his arrest last year, he said Russia was governed by a "regime of murderers."

"I subscribe to every word that I have said," Kara-Murza said last week in a speech to the court. "Not only do I not repent any of this, I am proud of it." Russia accused him of spreading "false" information about the war, and Kara-Murza didn't bother asking the court for lenience on Monday. "I know the verdict. I knew it a year ago when I saw people in black uniforms and black masks running after my car in the rearview mirror. Such is the price for speaking up in Russia today." Kara-Murza, who has twice survived poisonings in recent years, plans to appeal.

NPR notes that he was among a small group of opposition figures who remained living in Russia while speaking out against the war. Several years ago, he struck up a friendship with Sen. John McCain of Arizona as he lobbied for laws punishing Russia. He then served as one of McCain's pallbearers in 2018. "I know that the day will come when the darkness engulfing our country will clear," he said last week. "Our society will open its eyes and shudder when it realizes what crimes were committed in its name." (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.