“Discrediting of the Russian Army”: what becomes a reason for initiating criminal cases against citizens in Russia

Richard Rose. Screenshot: uatv.ua

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the Russian Federation, 713 people have been prosecuted for their anti-war stance. During this period, according to the human rights media project “OVD-Info”, almost 8,000 administrative cases were initiated in Russia under the article on the so-called discrediting of the Russian army. Roskomnadzor blocked 8,500 resources. Among them are the media, websites of human rights and public organizations, FREEDOM reports.

Kaliningrad resident Ilya, suspected of setting fire to the Z-installation in Belgorod, said that he was tortured to extract a confession. The citizen was detained on the street by five unknown men in civilian clothes. Ilya was taken to the forest and tortured for several hours using an electric shocker and a gas burner. According to the resident of Kaliningrad, he was electrocuted more than 200 times.

“In total, I was punched and kicked more than 50 times on different parts of my body. At one point, they poured some flammable mixture on my legs and told me that now my legs would be set on fire. My legs were also repeatedly doused with water, to which they immediately brought an electric shocker, and it was much more painful for me,” Kaliningrad resident Ilya was quoted as saying in the Meduza publication.

In the evening, Ilya was brought to the police station in Belgorod. There, a criminal case was opened under the article on vandalism motivated by political and ideological hatred, as well as under another article – “illegal acquisition, transfer, storage of explosive devices and explosive substances.”

“They had some kind of special anger towards him, they viewed him as an active member of some military formation, which reflects the interests, which expresses the interests of Ukraine. This is how they treated him,” said Ilya Shablinskyi, a lawyer and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

A court in St. Petersburg arrested programmer Mykola Veprikov in absentia for an article about so-called fakes about the Russian army. The reason for initiating a criminal case was two anti-war messages on a social network. The Nevsky District Court arrested Veprikov for two months. However, on July 27, the St. Petersburg City Court decided to change the preventive measure and release the programmer from the SIZO. After that he left Russia.

“Yes, I considered such a possibility. Especially in view of the news about detentions and cases of fakes that constantly appear. But I was very acutely experiencing everything that was happening [in Ukraine], and it was unbearable to keep it to myself. In addition, I felt that my silence was a betrayal of my principles and values and an agreement with my conscience,” said Veprikov in an interview with “Sever.Realiya”.

A resident of Kirov, Richard Rose, was sentenced to 8 years in a general regime colony for spreading fakes about the Russian army and justifying terrorism. He has been in custody since April 2022.

“In April last year, he posted on his VKontakte social network account, of course, several indignant posts about the murders of Buchi residents. Every person has the right to say whatever he wants about the state, about the armed forces as well. And in fact, the constitution and the law should protect her right to say whatever she thinks about the state. But here everything is the opposite, we now live in a state, in Russia, which has practically become totalitarian, that is, freedom of thought is severely limited, not only one cannot say anything about the war in Ukraine, one cannot say anything about Putin, in general about any representative of the government “, – says Shablinskyi.

As “OVD-Info” reports, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, more than 700 people in the federation have been prosecuted for criminal “anti-war” cases. 229 people are already in prison.