Film director Aleksandr Sokurov on the fate of political prisoner Oleg Sentsov

posted 12 Dec 2016, 07:40 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 12 Dec 2016, 07:40 ]
5 December 2016


The famous Russian film director Alexander Sokurov has spoken about his conversation with President Putin regarding the fate of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov who has been sentenced to 20 years in a strict regime Russian prison. Sentsov is recognised as a political prisoner by the Memorial Human Rights Centre.

“The president answered all my questions, but I still don’t understand why a person should be sentenced to 20 years under strict regime for something he thought, not did. He did nothing, but only thought. That I do not understand,” said Sokoruv, according to the RIA Novosti.

Sokurov also expressed his hope that the president would review once more all the documents pertaining to the case and “think over the situation again”.

In the course of a joint meeting between the Council for Culture and Art and the Council for Russian Language, Sokurov asked the president to “resolve the Sentsov issue”. He said that this “simple young man” could not understand “the intricacies and complexity of the political situation”.

Putin responded that the matter must proceed on the basis that “we live in a state that operates by the rule of law, and questions of this kind must of course be decided by the judiciary”. He also stated that Sentsov was sentenced not for his views, but because he “actually dedicated his life to terrorist activities”. “It’s really not about what he thinks of the events in Crimea, but his intentions, and his preparations to carry out illegal actions to the detriment of our country and its citizens.”

After this, Putin reaffirmed that Sentsov had been condemned not for his views but for his illegal intentions: “That is the issue, not his views. Everyone has the right to their own views, and nobody would judge him for them.’

According to the FSB, Sentsov allegedly formed a terrorist group which operated in Crimea. During April and May 2014, members of the group – Sentsov, Kolchenko, Aleksei Chirny and Genady Afanasev – allegedly set fire to the door of the Russian Community of Crimea organization and the local branch of the United Russia party. The FSB claims that those arrested were “getting ready to carry out acts of terror,” writes

Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko have been recognised as political prisoners by Memorial Human Rights Centre (based in Moscow).

Read more about the case of Sentsov and Kolchenko on the Memorial website

Translated by Anna Bowles