Anastasia Shevchenko

Anastasia Shevchenko is a Russian civil rights activist, and former political prisoner and prisoner of conscience. She was the first person in Russia found guilty of participating in an “undesirable” organisation under Russian Federation law.

Following the institution of Putin’s law against “undesirable” organisations, authorities raided Shevchenko’s house and arrested her on 21 January 2019 for her supposed involvement with Open Russia. While Shevchenko was not part of Open Russia, her participation in a similarly-named domestic organization that criticized Putin rendered her victim to the politically-fuelled charge. Subsequently, she was placed on house arrest for two years awaiting trial.

While on house arrest, Shevchenko was barred from visiting her eldest daughter, Alina, who was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the local hospital. Despite numerous pleas to the court to visit her, Shevchenko was prohibited from leaving her home. By the time the court granted Shevchenko leave from her home, Alina had already passed away alone hours prior.

On 18 February 2021, a Russian court handed Shevchenko a guilty verdict of a 4-year suspended sentence for her participation in an “undesirable organization.”

In August 2022, Shevchenko fled Russia with her children and moved to Vilnius, Lithuania. She has since been declared a fugitive by the Kremlin.

In September 2022, the documentary Anastasia premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film follows Anastasia as she undertakes an emotional journey to spread her daughter Alina’s ashes in the Black Sea prior to her departure from the country.