Russia: firm prison required against an opponent who criticized the offensive in Ukraine

Russia: firm prison required against an opponent who criticized the offensive in Ukraine


A Russian prosecutor on Thursday demanded seven years in prison against an elected municipal official in Moscow, Alexei Gorinov, who had criticized the offensive against Ukraine, in a context of repression of any voice of opposition in Russia. 

At the age of 60, Mr. Gorinov is the first elected opposition member to risk imprisonment for having criticized the intervention in Ukraine.

The prosecutor accused him on Thursday of having “disseminated false information about the armed forces” and “mislead a large number of people”, according to an AFP correspondent present at the hearing.

“I ask you to recognize Gorinov's guilt and sentence him to imprisonment in a penal colony for a period of seven years”, he added, accusing the elected opposition member of having been motivated by ” political hatred”.

At the hearing on Thursday, Mr. Gorinov said he was “against all wars”, citing as examples those waged in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Iraq.&nbsp ;

“My father came back disabled from the Second World War. And his brother, minus one leg,” he added.

Mr. Gorinov was arrested on April 26 in Moscow. His trial began on June 1.

He is being prosecuted for “disseminating false information” about the Russian army, an offense introduced in early March to silence critics of the offensive in Ukraine.

Mr. Gorinov is accused of having acted “in a group” and “using his “official position” with another municipal deputy, Elena Kotenochkina, who fled Russia.

A lawyer by training, Mr. Gorinov had denounced Moscow's “aggression” against Ukraine on March 15, during a filmed work meeting.

During this speech, broadcast on YouTube, he had questioned, given the context, the organization in his constituency of entertainment events, in particular a drawing competition for children.

“Children are becoming orphans and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of participants in the Second World War are thrown into the hell of fighting in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the death “every day” of Ukrainian children.

“All civil society efforts must be used to end the war and bring about the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory,” he continued.

Since its launch on February 24, dozens of people with publicly criticized the offensive against Ukraine have been continued in Russia. Most have been fined, but others face heavy prison sentences.