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Ivan Pavlov

Former Galina Starovoitova Fellow on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution


    September 1, 2003 — December 1, 2003

    Professional affiliation

    Human Rights Lawyer; Former Head, Team 29 Informal Association

    Wilson Center Projects

    Comparative Military Justice Systems: U.S. and Russia.

    Full Biography

    Ivan Pavlov specializes in issues related to national security and freedom of information. He is one of the Russia’s most known legal expert in the cases of disclosing state secrets, treason, and espionage. Dr. Pavlov has worked on the most sensitive and high-profile cases of human rights abuses, including cases of academics, journalists, activists and even ordinary citizens wrongly charged with treason, espionage or extremism. He also focuses on raising public awareness regarding the need for modern legislation on state secrets and the use of current legislation as a means of repression.

    He represents clients in a number of high-profile cases included the Foundation Against Corruption of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the case of journalist Ivan Safronov accused for the treason. He was also the lawyer of four Russian women convicted of high treason after texting in 2008 to friends in Georgia about Russian military equipment that went  in the direction of Abkhazia.

    Dr. Pavlov is the author of different judicial and legislative initiatives in protecting the right to access government information and access to the archives of political repression by the Soviet regime. He is also the founder of two non-governmental initiatives that worked to promote human rights and freedoms in information in Russia: Freedom of Information Foundation  and Team 29. FIF was included in the state register of “foreign agent” NGOs.  The collaboration of lawyers and journalists “Team 29” was closed because of the threat for criminal prosecutions of the members.

    Since April 2021, Dr. Pavlov has been under criminal investigation and accused of “disclosure of the data of a preliminary investigation” relating to one of his clients, journalist Ivan Safronov. The case is seen by international professional lawyers community and human rights organizations as politically motivated. He has launched a new legal group  “Department One” that also specializes in new Russian laws, such as the criminalization of independent war reporting and protesting the war.

    He was awarded by the Moscow Helsinki Group Award for defending human rights and the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.