Moscow’s Most Vocal Opponent: Who is Vladimir Kara-Murza?

By Riddy10 3 Min Read
FILE - Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza is escorted to a hearing in a court in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 8, 2023. The U.S. has imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on six Russian officials and an expert witness involved in the incarceration of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition leader who has been imprisoned in Moscow since April for speaking out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo, File)

Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza has been convicted of treason and sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Moscow court.

The historian, journalist, and opposition politician was accused of spreading false information about the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine and of being involved with foreign-based opposition forums labelled as “undesirable” by the Russian state.

Kara-Murza had been a close associate of Boris Nemtsov, a leading opposition figure who was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015.

Despite facing mounting risks, Kara-Murza continued to speak out against President Vladimir Putin and remained active in Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, publicly condemning the war in defiance of new censorship laws.


Kara-Murza’s trial was held behind closed doors, but his wife and lawyer released a copy of a speech he delivered to the court in which he declared his innocence and compared the proceedings to Josef Stalin’s show trials of the 1930s.

“Criminals are supposed to repent of what they have done. I, on the other hand, am in prison for my political views.

I also know that the day will come when the darkness over our country will dissipate,” said Kara-Murza.


Kara-Murza had twice fallen ill in 2015 and 2017, in what he said were poisonings by the Russian security services, which left him with a serious nerve disorder called polyneuropathy. Russian authorities denied involvement in the incidents.

Vladimir Kara-Murza

Kara-Murza’s conviction has been widely condemned by international human rights organizations, with Amnesty International calling it a “travesty of justice” and “a clear attempt to silence and intimidate anyone who dares to criticize the Russian authorities.”

The European Union also expressed its concern, saying the verdict “further undermines the rule of law and the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia.”

The conviction of Kara-Murza is seen as part of a broader crackdown on political opposition and civil society in Russia.


It comes amid growing international condemnation of Putin’s authoritarian rule and his government’s actions, including the annexation of Crimea, the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal, and the recent invasion of Ukraine.

The fate of Kara-Murza has become a symbol of the struggle for democracy and human rights in Russia.

His conviction is a blow to those fighting for a more open and democratic society in the country and has raised concerns about the safety and freedom of other opposition figures and activists in Russia.


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