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SBU: Russian propagandist sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 15, 2023 6:12 PM 2 min read
The Russian propagandist Armen Gasparyan in a photo posted on Feb. 21, 2022. (Armen Gasparyan/Facebook)
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The Russian propagandist Armen Gasparyan was sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia for his role in promoting the narrative that Ukraine needs to be "de-Nazified" and for incitement of genocide, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) announced on Nov. 15.

The investigation was carried out in cooperation with the Prosecutor General's Office.

Gasparyan was found guilty of publicly calling for genocide, advocating for the violent overthrow of the Ukrainian government, and "encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine."

Gasparyan was sentenced in absentia, as he is likely in Russia.

He has been one of the well-known proponents of the narrative that Ukraine needs to be "de-Nazified," which has been a common justification of Russia's war against Ukraine, used by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials.

Claims that Nazism is somehow prevalent nowadays in Ukraine have been thoroughly debunked, and far-right parties have failed to have any significant success in Ukrainian elections.

Gasparyan has been a guest on the show of the well-known Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov and published a book called the "De-Nazification of Ukraine" in 2018. It contained a pseudo-historical analysis of Ukraine, as well as calling for Russia to attack Ukraine.

The SBU claimed in July 2022 in its announcement of an investigation against Gasparyan that he was responsible for "spread(ing) the term ‘denazification’ in Russia" and using it in reference to Ukraine.

Other well-known Russian propagandists have been investigated by the SBU.

The SBU announced in July 2023 that it had participated in an investigation along with the Prosecutor General's Office of Alexander Dugin, a Russian ultranationalist ideologue.

"(Alexandr Dugin) is one of the key ideologues of the aggressive policy of the Russian Federation and the genocide of the Ukrainian people," the SBU wrote.

Although Dugin has not been convicted yet by Ukrainian courts, he too resides in Russia, and any sentence would likely be in absentia.

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