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Nobel Winner Muratov Calls on Foreign Leaders to Exchange Russian Political Prisoners

Dmitry Muratov holds up a photo of Oleg Orlov, the co-founder of the Memorial human rights group who is serving a 2.5-year prison sentence for criticizing the war in Ukraine. NO.Media from Russia / YouTube

Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov has called on foreign leaders to facilitate the exchange of political prisoners from Russia in a rare video appeal published Wednesday. 

“Let's start exchanging civilians imprisoned on politically motivated charges. Many of them simply won’t survive [in prison],” Muratov said in a 20-minute long YouTube clip.

“Let’s exchange Russian [political] prisoners for supporters of Russkiy mir held in Ukrainian prisons. This must be done urgently because the time is running out,” the journalist added, referring to the Russian imperialist concept of the “Russian world.”

Muratov also warned the public that acts of political terror in Russia are now committed out in the open and that pro-Kremlin snitchers are “keeping the entire country in the state of fear.”

“The more cruelty a person shows, the more he now considers himself a patriot. [In Russia] cruelty has become synonymous with the word ‘patriotism,” said the journalist. 

Muratov’s appeal comes as supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza, who was hospitalized for an unexplained “medical examination” last week, are sounding the alarm over his life-threatening medical condition. 

Earlier this year, allies of Alexei Navalny claimed that the opposition politician died in an Arctic prison just days ahead of a planned prisoner swap between Moscow and Western governments.

Muratov, the co-founder of Russia's top independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Philippines' Maria Ressa for their respective fights for freedom of expression.

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