We wish you freedom! - Birthday greetings to Aleksei Pichugin from human rights defenders, politicians, cultural figures, and journalists

posted 29 Jul 2013, 04:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 Jul 2013, 04:30 ]
25 July 2013 

Vera Vasilieva 

Source: HRO.org
On July 25 Aleksei Pichugin celebrated his 51st birthday. The former Yukos employee has spent the last ten years behind bars. A number of famous human rights defenders, cultural figures, and journalists sent Aleksei Pichugin birthday greetings. Moreover, bloggers from Russia, the UK, Germany, the USA, Israel, and various other countries sent him several hundred birthday greeting as a result of the Interent campaign: "Wish Aleksei Pichugin a Happy Birthday!


Dear Aleksei Vladimirovich,

Please accept our sincere and heartfelt birthday greetings! We wish you health, good spirits, and freedom where there's no freedom! We admire your courage and your steadfastness. Rest assured that we're at your side, always thinking about you and hoping that justice will prevail.

Ludmila Alekseeva (chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group), members of the MHG, and colleagues


Happy Birthday my dear Aleksei!

Freedom for political prisoners!

Natalya Gorbanevskaya, poet, translator, and one of the participants in the Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968


Dear Aleksei Vladimirovich, 

I wish you many happy returns and simply two things: health and freedom. I'm convinced that freedom is not far off. Strasbourg is only the first step to your release; more progress will follow. The regime won't last forever. Don't lose faith in yourself.

I shake your hand,

Aleksei Kondaurov, reserve major general, former head of the information department at Group Menatep and Yukos, CPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), deputy of the State Duma from 2003-7


Dear Aleksei, 

We're almost the same age, but you're older than me by a whole lifetime: by the life sentence that you're serving in accordance with the court's verdict - an absurd and unspeakably cruel verdict.

You know that there are free people who are fighting for your release: at the European court (unfortunately things aren't unfolding closer to home) and with the help of mass media. It's a long - but not a hopeless - fight.

Don't lose hope - that's what I wish for most of all on your birthday. Please take care of your health, your nerves, and your strength for the sake of that day when you'll finally walk to freedom and embrace your family and friends. Hang on!


Ilya Milstein, journalist


Dear Aleksei, 

I hope you have a happy birthday!

I wish you good health, strength of mind, composure, and hope. People haven't forgotten you, but think about you, and want you to be free. In any case, those people who understand how cruel a fate you have suffered.

Aleksei Melnikov, member of the bureau of the Yabloko Russian United Democratic Party


Dear Aleksei, 

I know that the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment on your case quite a long time ago, but here in Russia nothing at all is being done about it. Still, I can't help congratulating you, not only for your birthday, but also for this favourable outcome that invalidates both your trial and the charges against you. In spite of everything, I look forward to the day when Russia will carry out the European Court’s judgment and you'll get your freedom - perhaps not straightaway, but you'll get it, and your beautiful mother will embrace you in freedom.

With infinite respect and hope,

Olga Romanova, journalist


Dear Aleksei Vladimirovich, 

I don't know you personally, but I've been following your story for a long time. I admire your steadfastness, your nobility, and your courage. Your daily conduct in Putin's torture chambers is an act of heroism that you accomplish in the name of freeing our homeland from the criminal regime that's driving Russia and its people to their deaths.

Your mother can be proud of you.

Putin in fact condemned himself - not you - to "life imprisonment". It's not without reason that he clings so desperately to the power that's slipping away from him. Pichugin, Putin, Khodorkovsky, and Lebedev are four men who are in fact sentenced to one and the same term. When the last day of Putin's term is over, the three other men will immediately be released. As a birthday present, I'm sending you my latest article: "Why Putin will be gone in 2013".

I wish you good health and look forward to meeting you soon!

Yours faithfully,

Andrei Piontkovsky, political scientist and analyst


Dear Aleksei, 

We wish you many happy returns of the day.

These greetings are from both myself and my family. You're always in our thoughts and memories. We're proud of you and waiting for you!!! Besides wishing you many happy returns, we send our warmest regards to your beloved mother Alla Nikolaevna. May God grant you strength and good health.

Respectfully yours,

Konstantin Shabelnitsky, former telecom engineer at Yukos

July 25, 2013