Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza goes missing after transfer to prison hospital

Learn more about David J. Kramer.
David J. Kramer
David J. Kramer
Executive Director, George W. Bush Institute and Vice President
George W. Bush Presidential Center
Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza sits on a bench inside a defendants' cage during a hearing at the Basmanny court in Moscow on October 10, 2022. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)

It has been a week since the lawyers for Vladimir Kara-Murza, the brave Russian opposition figure, last saw him. Prison authorities informed the lawyers that Kara-Murza was transferred to Omsk Federal Penitentiary Service Regional Hospital 11, but to date, they have denied access and visitation rights to the lawyers.

Why it matters

Critics and opponents of the Vladimir Putin regime risk loss of freedom and life in Russia, as evidenced by the examples of poisonings and assassinations involving journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Russian opposition figures Boris Nemtsov and Aleksei Navalny, and many more. Kara-Murza himself is the survivor of two near-fatal poisonings in 2015 and 2017 and still suffers from the effects of these attempts on his life. His imprisonment on bogus charges in 2022 led to a prison sentence of 25 years in a politically motivated case and has placed his health and life in grave danger.

Bottom line

Western leaders, many of whom are gathering in Washington, DC this week for the NATO summit, should demand that Russian authorities grant access to Kara-Murza to assess his health and condition. They also should redouble efforts to seek Kara-Murza’s release before he becomes Putin’s latest victim.