Free Stanislav Aseyev. Statement of the Ukrainian PEN Center
More than a year ago, in June 2017, Ukrainian writer and journalist Stanislav Aseyev was kidnapped in Donetsk by unidentified militants. No information on his whereabouts was available for nearly two months, until the so-called “Ministry of State Security” of the self-styled “Donetsk People Republic” finally admitted that he had been arrested and imprisoned on “espionage” charges.
Still, neither lawyers nor relatives had been allowed to contact him, so the only information on Stanislav’s fate came out randomly from some other “DPR” prisoners. It suggested that his health was badly deteriorating, that he had been probably tortured, and that inhuman conditions of his imprisonment put his life under real risk.
Stanislav was born in 1989 in Donetsk, studied in the local Technical University where obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy and history of religion, and published his first two books – collections of prose and poetry in his native Russian in 2011. Four years later, he debuted as a novelist in a reputable Moscow journal “Yunost” (nos. 1–6) with a prose The Melchior Elephant appraised by critics and republished as a book in Kyiv in 2016. Since 2014, under the pseudonym Stanislav Vasin, he contributed as a reporter and blogger to the Kyiv-based “Ukrainska pravda”, “Weekly Mirror”, “Ukrainian Week”, and Radio Liberty. His selected reports from the occupied city has been recently published in Kyiv under the title Incommunicado.
We have no illusions about the kind of justice and legal system in the so-called “DPR”. We feel, however, that the life of our colleague, a talented writer and honest journalist, is in danger. We call on the Ukrainian government to do everything possible to free Stanislav Aseyev, together with other Ukrainian hostages, through a negotiated prisoner exchange. We would also call on our international colleagues to intensify their pressure on the Russian government, which controls the puppet authorities of the “DPR”, to immediately release Stanislav Aseyev, as well as all other Ukrainian political prisoners.
On behalf of the Ukrainian PEN Center
Mykola Riabchuk, the President
Andrei Kurkov, Vice President
Kyiv, July 7, 2018