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Media: Russian courts in Crimea have issued 472 verdicts for 'discrediting' Russian army since start of full-scale invasion

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 3, 2023 4:58 PM 2 min read
A neon piece depicting Crimea, part of a broader work by Ukrainian artist Nikita Kadan, during the exhibition "The Artist as Prophet" at the Weisser Elefant gallery on July 29, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Omer Messinger/Getty Images)
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Russian-installed courts in occupied Crimea have issued 472 rulings on "discrediting" the Russian military since the start of the full-scale invasion, Krym.Realii, a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reported on Nov. 3.

Russia passed sweeping censorship laws in March 2022 that essentially criminalized any criticism of the invasion or contradiction of Russian propaganda.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin then signed amendments to the Russian Criminal Code in March 2023 that introduced harsher punishments for "discrediting participants" of Moscow's all-out war against Ukraine.

The amendments also made it illegal not only to "discredit" official soldiers, but also volunteer fighters and irregular armed groups fighting in Ukraine, such as the Wagner Group.

Punishments include a fine of up to 5 million rubles (about $66,450) and a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Two men in occupied Crimea were fined 40,000 rubles each ($400) in October for "publicly discrediting the Russian army" after they were caught listening to a Ukrainian song in public.

The two men were fined for playing the song "Good evening, we are from Ukraine."

Yevhen Yaroshenko, an analyst from the NGO KrymSOS, told Krym.Realii that Russian-controlled courts issued 27 rulings on "discrediting" the Russian military in October 2023 alone.

Five verdicts involved cases of "repeatedly discrediting" the Russian military, according to Yaroshenko.

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Russia’s top propagandist, Olga Skabeeva, interrupted her talk show on May 16 to share “breaking news” with the Russian people. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) uncovered a spy, Skabeeva said, who had been feeding information about Russian military infrastructure and equipment to Ukrainia…

 

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