Freedom of Speech and Expression

In January 2024 working with The Rory Peck Trust, PoC made a hardship grant of £1,000 to a Russian journalist and academic who for 15 years had promoted freedom of speech and expression. We cannot name him, due to fear of reprisal from Russian security forces. When Russia invaded Ukraine, he openly condemned the war and worked with independent media outlets which were subsequently banned as “undesirable organisations”. Persecution and fear for his safety forced him to leave Russia and move through several countries without any meaningful finances, before being granted refuge in Germany where he is trying to re-establish his career as a freelance journalist and continue his work for a free Russia.

In March we supported a Russian artist who had to flee to a neighbouring country with her mother, following four years of detention, torture, surveillance and threats of criminal proceedings arising from her artwork which promoted LGBTQ+ and feminist rights. Again, due to personal security risks, we cannot name her. The treatment meted out to this artist was particularly cruel, leaving her with severe PTSD and medical issues, and the PoC grant is helping her and her mother to begin a new life in the neighbouring country.

The struggle to uphold and advance human rights in Russia is far from over.



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