Hessian Peace Prize 2015 awarded to Ella Polyakova

Russian human rights activist honored

On 17th July 2015, the Hessian Peace Prize 2015 was awarded to Ella Mikhaylovna Polyakova. The award ceremony took place at the music hall of the Hessian Parliament (Landtag).

Ella Polyakova is the head of the human rights watch organisation “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg”. Since 1991, the nongovernmental organization is actively engaged in campaigning against degrading conditions, violence and abuses in the Russian Army while educating the society about their civil rights.


The “Soldier’s Mothers of St. Petersburg” criticize cruel acts of violence by officers against young soldiers that lead to serious long term injuries or death.Claiming that the Russian government denies these facts, the organization advocates the improvement and detection of the soldier’s rights and the prosecution of the offenders. They also demand more transparency about the whereabouts of the Russian soldiers, for example in the case of the Ukraine crisis. Furthermore, the NGO accuses the Russian government of forcing young Russians into the military service.


As a result of the accusations and claims, the organisation was classified as a foreign agent by the Russian government. Despite this having hindered their work, Ella Polyakova and the “Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg” continue to campaign against these difficult conditions in and around the Russian Army. According to this engagement Minister-president Volker Bouffier acknowledged her as “a symbol for peace, freedom and justice, constitutional legality and nonviolence.”

In her vote of words Ella Polyakova emphasized the contributions of her fellow campaigners for the compliance of human rights and hold a minute’s silence in commemoration of those who have fallen victim to the regime.


For her commitment, human rights activist Ella Polyakova was awarded with the Galina Starovoitova Peace Prize in 2005, as well as with the Aachener Friedenspreis in 2005.