Young European Federalists stand with Vesna imprisoned democracy activists in Russia

Strasbourg, 09.06.2023

  • On 6 June 2023, Russian law enforcement authorities detained six former members of the Youth Democratic Movement Vesna, our partner organisation in Russia.
  • They are facing a political prosecution aiming to cease any activity of Vesna, labelled as “terrorist organisation”, and terrorising their supporters in Russia.
  • JEF Europe stands with Vesna and its political prisoners in their fight against dictatorship for a democratic Russia.


On 6 June 2023, Russian law enforcement authorities detained six former activists of the Youth Democratic Movement Vesna. The Youth Democratic Movement “VESNA” is a non-partisan Russian youth NGO campaigning not only for human rights and democracy, but also for academic freedom for more than 8 years in numerous Russian regions. 

Valentin Khoroshenin, Evgeny Zateev, Yan Ksenzhepolsky, Anna Arkhipova, Pavel Sinelnikov, and Vasily Neustroev were placed into custody and are facing up to 10-15 years in prison. They are being persecuted for their past relations to the Vesna movement and their anti-war position. Prior to being arrested and sent to Moscow for further investigation, their homes were searched.

Brave freedom fighters Valentin, Evgeny, Yan, Anna, Pavel, and Vasily stood up against oppression at great personal risk and are now political prisoners. JEF Europe stands with VESNA and will speak up for those who are silenced in Russia and beyond”, said Christelle Savall, Vice President of JEF Europe.

The 6 detained activists are facing criminal proceedings under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, including being accused of “forming an extremist organisation”. 

This is how the Russian authorities assessed the activity of the Youth Democratic Movement Vesna as a result of the nationwide protests organised by them, criticising and combating the ruling party, Putin’s regime, and condemning the crimes of the Russian military. On May 17, the court decision on the recognition of the Youth Democratic Movement Vesna as an extremist organisation was legally enforced.

Furthermore, the detained individuals are accused of, for instance, “public calls to effectuate activities aimed against the national safety of the Russian Federation”.

The persecuted young pro-democracy activists are likely to face severe sentences (each article of the Criminal Code implies punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment).


Our previous positions

EU-Kraine campaign

16/03/2023 Press Release | Democracy under Pressure” 2023: JEF Europe builds a European chain of democracy

13/11/2022 The EU response to the Russian Federation’s aggression of Ukraine | Resolution

19/02/2021 Russian universities must remain free from authoritarianism | Joint Statement with VESNA and ESU


About JEF

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 36 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.

About Democracy under Pressure

Since 2006, JEF Europe has been lifting the voices and the stories of  activists and citizens demanding to live in a democratic country with its Democracy under Pressure campaign. Every year, JEF Europe draw attention to the systematic weakening of democratic values on which the European Union is founded.


Contact information




Christelle Savall
Vice President
Young European Federalists