Russia: conviction of librarian Natalia Sharina must be quashed

On 5 June 2017, Natalia Sharina, former Director of the state-run Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, was found guilty of ‘incitement of hatred’ towards Russian people and ‘embezzlement’ and handed-down a four-year suspended sentence for holding ‘extremist literature’.

Sharina was arrested in October 2015 after investigators found banned works by Ukrainian nationalist Dmitry Korchinsky in the library she headed. She denied these belonged to the collection and claimed they had been planted. She spent 19 months under house arrest, throughout the investigation and trial, during which time her health seriously deteriorated.

Sharina has appealed her conviction and her next trial hearing is expected to take place in the autumn. PEN believes that the case against Natalia Sharina is politically motivated and calls for her sentence and conviction to be quashed.

For further background information, please visit the PEN International website.


Write to the authorities

Please send appeals:

  • Urging the Russian authorities to quash the conviction and sentence of Natalia Sharina;
  • Calling on them to uphold the rights to freedom of expression and information and to not prosecute librarians over the content of library materials;
  • Urging them to review anti-extremism legislation so that it does not curtail the right to freedom of expression.

Send appeals to:

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation

Yurii Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Russian Federation

Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation

Tatiana Nikolaevna Moskalkova
ul. Miasnitskaia, 47
107084, Moscow
Russian Federation

Send copies to the Embassy of Russia in your own country. Embassy addresses may be found here:

Please reach out to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic representatives in Russia, calling on them to raise Natalia Sharina’s case in bilateral fora.

Please inform PEN of any action you take and of any responses you receive – via


PEN members are encouraged to:

  • Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Natalia Sharina;
  • Reach out to library and information associations and organise joint activities;
  • Share information about Natalia Sharina and your campaigning activities via social media – please include the hashtag #NataliaSharina and tag English PEN (@englishpen) on Twitter.

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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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