Russia’s opposition politician, journalist, author, and filmmaker Vladimir Kara-Murza was arrested by the police in Moscow last week, the Washington Oxi Day Foundation announced.
Kara-Murza is an OXI Courage Award recipient for his bravery in opposing authoritarianism in Russia. The Washington Oxi Day Foundation expresses great concern and calls for his immediate release.
Kara-Murza has survived two attempts on his life by Russian forces, and both times, his wife was told he would not survive. Yet he returns to Moscow to fight for freedom.
When he received the 2018 Courage Award, Foundation Advisory Board Member Michael Psaros introduced Kara-Murza as “a man who is changing the world.”
Kara-Murza: Moral courage can be stronger than military might
In his acceptance speech, the Russian opposition politician said: “Moral courage can be stronger than military might as the people of Greece showed in October of 1940 when the Axis ultimatum was answered with one short word: OXI!”
He added: “The award I have the great honor of receiving tonight is presented for courage. I don’t know if we are courageous…but what we certainly are is unwilling to be complicit in the crimes of a regime that claims to speak on behalf of our country. We say NO to its cruelty, to its corruption, to its constant lying. And we look forward to one day saying YES to a Russia that respects the rights and freedoms of its citizens and that plays a constructive role in international affairs. We know that day will come. And we will continue to do everything we can to bring that day a little closer.”
As the Greeks said “OXI!” to the Nazis, Kara-Murza said “NO!” to Putin
The day before his arrest, Kara-Murza appeared on MSNBC from Moscow and displayed his #OXIcourage by forcefully speaking out against Vladimir Putin’s repression in Russia and invasion of Ukraine. As the Greeks said “OXI!” to the Nazis, Kara-Murza said “NO!” to Putin, the Washington Oxi Day Foundation says.
Russian opposition politician @vkaramurza says “so-called opinion poll numbers” alleging vast support for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are “meaningless in an authoritarian state where people have no access to objective information” #Velshi https://t.co/IRdvi9whyH
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) April 10, 2022
Russia imposes restrictions to the opposition
He said: “Thousands of people are coming out across Russia to say ‘NO!’ this is not my war, this is Putin’s war, this is not a war conducted by the Russian people. We all know the dangers, the price of being in opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime…More than 15,000 people were detained by police since February 24 for demonstrating against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Less than two weeks prior to his arrest, Kara-Murza testified before the Helsinki Commission at a March 29th hearing examining Putin’s war on truth, where witnesses discussed the Kremlin’s use of propaganda and censorship.
The Russian government in March enacted new restrictions, criminalizing media from using the word “invasion” to describe the conflict in Ukraine. Those who violate them could face up to 15 years in prison.
Russia’s opposition activist is “a true patriot”
The Helsinki Commission put out a statement expressing alarm at Kara-Murza’s arrest and said:
“[Kara-Murza] is not a criminal but a true patriot motivated by the potential of a democratic future for Russia and freedom for its people. He must be allowed access to his lawyer and should be released immediately.”
According to the Helsinki Commission, Kara-Murza was detained on the street near his Moscow home. He currently is being held in the Khamovniki police station in the Central Administrative District of Moscow, where authorities have denied him access to his legal counsel in violation of his constitutional rights.
“Just as Vladimir Kara-Murza paid respect and homage to the Greek people’s incredible courage at that pivotal moment in WWII history, we must pay respect and homage to his incredible courage at this pivotal moment in modern history,” said Washington Oxi Day Foundation President and Founder Andy Manatos.