A Moscow court sentenced two men to prison for participating in a reading of poems against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in public, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported on Dec. 28.
Russia passed sweeping censorship laws in March 2022 that essentially criminalized any public criticism of the invasion, contradiction of Russian propaganda, or even playing Ukrainian music in public.
Artem Kamardin, Yegor Shtovba, and Nikolai Daineko reportedly participated in the poetry reading on Sept. 25, 2022, near the monument to Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
The next day, law enforcement searched their homes and assaulted the men, RFE/RL said. A video appeared online in which they apologized, with visible bruises on their faces.
Kamardin was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Shtovba was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. They were found guilty of calling for activities that undermine the security of the state, among related offenses.
Danieko was already sentenced in May 2023 to four years in prison.
According to the Russian independent media outlet Sota, Kamardin received a higher sentence as he was accused of organizing the group.