U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Letters From Ben

April 13, 2024

Letters to Vladimir

Dear Fellow Marylanders,

This week marks two years since the arrest and jailing of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition leader, historian, and journalist. He was arrested just days after testifying in Washington before the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which I chaired at the time. Vladimir was unjustly imprisoned by the Russian government for opposing the Putin regime’s attacks on Russian democracy and his unprovoked war against Ukraine.

Vladimir isn’t just an inspirational voice for freedom. He is also my friend.

To mark this grim milestone, I recently brought together members of Congress, administration officials, representatives from the diplomatic community, and leaders from an array of democracy and human rights organizations to meet with me and Vladimir’s wife, Evgenia, and their children, to call for his immediate release.

During the event, I encouraged everyone to write Vladimir a letter to be delivered to his prison, so he knows all of us are still fighting for his freedom, and that he is not alone, nor forgotten. I’d like to share some of what I wrote to him:

I look forward to the day that I can once again host you and Evgenia together in the U.S. Capitol. Rest assured, our Senate Bean Soup and cornbread will be waiting for you. You can put penitentiary yard walks behind you for a stroll on the National Mall. And you can trade reading letters for a visit to the Library of Congress.

I know that everyone in Washington will want to make your return here a welcome one. Until that day, you are in the thoughts and prayers of myself and my wife Myrna. I promise you: We will not stop fighting for you until you are free. One day, Russia will be the land you dream of, where justice is fair, where you can speak your mind without fear, and where elections are genuinely democratic. A Russia at peace. Stay strong, Vladimir.

If you’ve known Vladimir for as long as I have, you know that he is a fearless human rights advocate who never gives up. In fact, he was a major figure in helping me achieve one of my proudest efforts in Congress—the enactment of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. This law codified international sanctions aimed at those who violate human rights and has become the gold standard across the world for human rights accountability.

Make no mistake: While this week marked a grim milestone, we will not rest until Vladimir is safely back home with his loving wife Evgenia and his amazing children. We will keep up this fight to the very end. Bipartisan support to secure his release could not be stronger, and I will ensure that United States uses every possible resource to help my friend Vladimir unite with his loved ones on American soil.

Stay strong, Vladimir.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to reply to this email with your thoughts on this or any other topic. I appreciate all the feedback we receive.

In solidarity,

Ben Cardin