UPDATE, May 2013.

In March 2013, after four years behind bars, Valentin Urusov was released early from the prison in which he was being held. Through friends in Russia, he has thanked all those who campaigned internationally for his release, and he is now hoping himself to become active in the campaign to defend others who have faced repression for their trade union activity.

Shortly after his release, Urusov was awarded the Arthur Svennson International Prize for Trade Union Rights (see here), and gave an interview about his plans for the future (see here, Russian only).

Meanwhile, cases of unjust jailing of activists have multiplied. As well as the very widely-publicised case of Pussy Riot, there have been many others, such as Aleksei Gaskarov (see here), who were arrested following the recent demonstrations in Moscow – and the fight to defend them continues.

(I’ve left the page, as it was originally written in 2011, below.)


Activists in Russia are campaigning for the release of Valentin Urusov, a miner who has been sentenced to six years’ hard labour after recruiting his workmates to a trade union.

The campaign was revitalised in February 2011, when a demonstration was held in Moscow demanding Valentin’s release, on St Valentine’s day. Meanwhile his lawyers have applied for a supervisory review of his case.

The demand for Urusov to be freed has been taken up by trade unionists all over Europe. In the UK, the National Union of Mineworkers is supporting Urusov, and its 2010 biennial conference approved protests to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev over the case. Here is a leaflet the union has published:

The legal arguments about the way that Urusov was framed up are set out in this article, from the Socialist Lawyer magazine:

A campaign group has been set up in London to support Urusov. Details are on its Facebook page here (you do NOT have to be a Facebook subscriber to view it):

An appeal from the Institute for Collective Action in Moscow is here: you have to scroll down a little to find the bit in English:

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