Aleksandr Gaponenko: Dialogue About Punctuation and a Letter to the Council of Europe Made Me an “Agent of the Russian Federation” in Latvia

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The human rights activist Aleksandr Gaponenko learned from journalists that the court returned his criminal case of inciting ethnic strife and anti-state activity back to the prosecutor’s office.

“I have paper from the prosecutor’s office where it is written that my case was brought to trial, and that I need to wait for a court decision. But that the court returned the case back, I did not hear about it. Of course, I will try to understand what’s going on, concerning this case I risked 8 years of prison”

said Gaponenko in an interview with Sputnik Latvia

Commenting on the case itself, the human rights activist stated that he considers it to be fabricated. There are about 20 episodes in the case, Gaponenko described what type of charges they are.

For example, the human rights activist was invited by the observer of the Russian Federation presidential elections, he corresponded with the Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Volodin – and the Latvian prosecutor’s office considered that this is proof that the human rights activist is an “agent of Russia” and acts against the interests of Latvia.

Another episode – in correspondence Gaponenko consults a former diplomat in Russia, who is also a big philologist concerning designing the text for his book. The prosecutor’s office in Latvia also considers this correspondence to be proof of the criminal activity of Gaponenko.

The letter to the leaders of member countries of the Council of Europe with a protest against the transfer of schools of ethnic minorities in Latvia to teaching only in the Latvian language was also considered to be criminal by the prosecutor’s office.

“And there are about 20 of such episodes. So I just did not know how to react,” said Gaponeko, having emphasised that the prosecutor’s office never summoned him even once, although he offered to give his explanations for every episode.

“I cannot rationally explain what is going on,” said Gaponenko.

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