Dmitry Makarov: Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov declares hunger strike

posted 4 Jun 2018, 10:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Jun 2018, 10:59 ]
18 May 2018 

By Dmitry Makarov, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group: 

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Facebook]  

I find it very difficult to write about Oleg Sentsov's hunger strike. For me a hunger strike is the last step of despair when there is no hope that demands, expressed by other means, will be heard – a measure taken when there is an inner readiness to die.

There is an episode in the film "Rights of Memory" where Roginsky speaks about the meaning of Anatoly Marchenko's hunger strike. The hunger strike with an uncompromising demand for political prisoners' liberty ended in the Marchenko's death, but incredibly had a practical impact, pushing Gorbachev to liberate Soviet political prisoners.

The Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov is a political prisoner in the new Russia who protested against the annexation of Crimea and who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "organizing a terrorist group" (for the alleged arson of a door of the office of the Russian Community of Crimea). He has declared a hunger strike demanding the release of Ukrainians held in Russia who are political prisoners. Those who know Sentsov say that he is ready to go to the very end.

I don't know whether Oleg know's about Antaloly Marchenko's deed but we - unlike the society of that period – knew of his demands and about his hunger strike as soon as it was declared. It is hard and unpleasant to think about this - especially amidst celebrations and festivities around the World Cup. A great number of famous film directors and actors have spoken out in support of Oleg, and all leading international organizations have issued statements in his support. Now a very large number of people around the world will be watching what happens to him, and, God willing, this international will bring about Oleg's release, and the release of the near 70 other Ukrainian political prisoners before it is too late.

Translated by Anna Dvoryanchikova