WASHINGTON, D.C. – The McCain Institute at Arizona State University is calling for the immediate release of Vladimir Kara-Murza following his arrest by Russian authorities in Moscow today. Kara-Murza, along with thousands of other Russians, have been arrested for calling out the regime’s brutal invasion of Ukraine and suppression of free expression. His arrest further exposes Russia’s craven decree to shutter any criticism of Putin and his ruthless regime.
The arrest occurred the same day Kara-Murza called Russia a “regime of murders” and the day after he said that Russia’s “war on censorship is complete . . . Every independent television network in Russia has been shut down.” As if to prove his point, Putin’s regime had him arrested.
“Today’s news of Vladimir’s arrest is a tragedy for Russians demanding freedom and democracy,” said Paul Fagan, director of the Human Rights & Democracy program at the McCain Institute. “Vladimir, along with Alexei Navalny, has long been fighting for liberty and fairness in Russia. Putin can try to crush dissent in Russia, but for every Kara-Murza who is arrested, another will take his place. He has inspired many and will continue to inspire all. The struggle for a democratic Russia is far from over.”
Just last month, Kara-Murza spoke at an event hosted by the McCain Institute and the Phoenix Council on Foreign Relations. Kara-Murza was a close friend of former Senator John McCain and was a pallbearer at the late Senator’s funeral. Their friendship grew over their shared belief that Russia was being undermined by the tyranny of Putin. They shared the belief that liberty and freedom could unlock the shackles of despotism in Russia and around the world.
“Vladimir Kara-Murza is a hero, staying and fighting for democracy in Russia against all odds. He believed, as millions of Russians do, that the future of Russia is through democracy, not autocracy,” said former Senator Kelly Ayotte, member of the McCain Institute’s Board of Trustees. “There are few who Putin fears more than Kara-Murza and the thousands of Russians who have taken to the streets demanding an end to the invasion of Ukraine and a freer Russia. His arrest is unjust, and he must be released.”
“Vladimir Kara-Murza survived two poisoning attempts by Putin and is a champion of democracy and a hero to the cause of freedom in Russia and around the world,” said former Senator Heidi Heitkamp, member of the McCain Institute’s Board of Trustees. “I condemn his arrest and join the calls for his immediate release.”
As Senator John McCain wrote when Kara-Murza was poisoned in 2017:
“Vladimir had sanctuary with his family in the United States. He could have remained here in safety . . . He knew the risks. But he took his values and his courage home to Russia . . .”
“Now those who fear Vladimir’s voice have tried again to quiet it forever. I pray they haven’t, and I ask Americans and righteous people everywhere to be his voice in his absence.
“Oppose Russian aggression against the world we have built from the ruined cities and destroyed empires of World War II. Don’t surrender the gains for our security and the progress for humanity that our Cold War victory achieved.
“Support the Russian people and their rights to liberty and justice, not the corrupt leaders who betray them.
“His is a voice of great moral clarity and compassion, and I hope we will hear it again summoning us to our moral duty. Americans, including our president, need to hear his voice. Russia needs to hear it. The world needs to hear it.”
About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.
About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.