Free Mikhail Afanasyev!
The journalist will remain in the detention center until Octember
Mikhail Afanasjev is a journalist from Khakassia and chief editor of the publication “New Focus”. He is facing up to 10 years in prison for publishing an article on Rosgvardiya soldiers (the National Guard of the Russian Federation), who refused to participate in the “special operation”.
about the criminal case
What is Mikhail charged with?
On the evening of April 13, 2022, as he was exiting the “New Focus ”editorial office, Mikhail was captured by an OMON squad (the special purpose police units within the National Guard of Russia). On the same day, the Federal Security Service officers searched the Afanasyev’s home; they seized all of their technical equipment and money. According to Elena Afanasyeva, the journalist’s wife, the law enforcement officers even took away the laptop that belonged to their 10-year-old daughter. A couple of days later, the court sent Mikhail to a detention center for 2 months. His family was not allowed in the courtroom.

What triggered the criminal investigation was Mr. Afanasyev’s article about National Guard soldiers from Khakassia, who had returned from Ukraine and refused to continue to participate in the “special operation”. According to the investigation, while writing about the National Guard OMON members, Mikhail “provided unreliable information on how many had been killed or gone missing”. On the basis of this text, the journalist was charged under article 207.3, part 2, sub-paragraph a: “dissemination of false information using official powers”.
Mikhail is an investigative journalist with 25 years of experience. He is a winner of the Anna Politkovskaya Award and a two-time winner of the Andrei Sakharov Award “For Journalism as an Act of Conscience”. The latter has been equated by the prosecution with “foreign funding” because Mikhail received it in Stockholm.

Mikhail’s relatives have no hopes for his speedy release: For the local authorities, Mikhail has been an “uncomfortable journalist”; there have been numerous attempts to put him behind bars for “defamation” and “insult”. The court is rejecting appeals and complaints about the search.

Every time following a search the Afanasyevs’ large family would lose a significant portion of their savings. Now Mikhail’s family is relying on help from their friends.

"Memorial"* recognized Mr. Afanasyev as a political prisoner.
How can I help?
Write Mikhail a letter
Write a letter using the “Zonatelekom” service:

Mailing address for Federal Government Facility “Pre-trial Detention Center 1 of the Federal Correctional Service Administration for the Republic of Khakassia”


FKU SIZO-1 UFSIN po Respublike Khakassia
Molodezhnyj quarter, bldg. 11, Abakan 655017

to Afanasyev, Mikhail Vyacheslavovich, born 1976
Publications on Mikhail’s case
*A publication, which, in the opinion of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation, carries out functions of a foreign agent
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