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Russia. Independent media: the prosecutor’s office demanded a 7-year prison sentence for a pensioner for anti-war comments on social networks

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Independent Russian media report on the case of a 62-year-old pensioner, against whom the prosecutor’s office in Moscow demanded a sentence of seven years in prison for spreading “false information” about the army on social networks.

Mikhail Simonov, 62, was accused of “spreading false information on social networks” about the army. Simonov posted his comments last year. “We sing songs on the First Channel of TV, killing women and children at the same time. We, Russiawe have become godless. God, forgive us!” wrote the pensioner, referring to the attacks of the Russian Air Force on the Drama Theater in Mariupol, under the rubble of which several hundred people died, as well as on civilian targets in Kiev.

“Russian pilots are bombing children,” the 62-year-old added in another comment, reported the independent TV Nastoyashcheye Vremya via the Mediazona portal and the Sota Telegram channel.


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Prosecutor’s Office on “hate against the authorities”

The pensioner was detained in Moscow on November 9, 2022. Simonov, who – according to the Sota channel – “hardly hears and communicates with difficulty”, partly admitted to the charges against him.

The man testified that he “blindly believed” foreign media, which misled him and prompted him to publish critical comments. According to the prosecutor’s office, the 62-year-old acted deliberately, motivated by “hatred of the authorities”.

One of the women participating in the trial as a witness could not recall the exact content of Simonov’s comments or the day she denounced him, we read on the Nastoyashcheye Vremya television portal.

Repression in Russia

Russian oppositionists and Western observers emphasize that the draconian penalties introduced in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, launched in February 2022, are increasingly reminiscent of Stalinist-era repression. This view was expressed in early March by Peter Stano, spokesman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.

Journalist Andrei Novashov was sentenced in Kemerovo, Siberia, to eight months of correctional labor for “knowingly disseminating false information about the Russian army.” The court additionally imposed a one-year ban on the Russian journalist from publishing anything online.

In the first days of March 13-year-old Masha Moskalova she was placed in a foster home for drawing an anti-war picture at school, and her father, the child’s only carer, was placed under house arrest on charges of “discrediting the army.” On Tuesday, he was sentenced to two years in prison. The man ran away.

Also in March, Vasily Bolshakov, a resident of the town of Kasimov in the Ryazan region, was arrested for posting a joke online referring to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. The man is liable to imprisonment for at least three years.

Main photo source: YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA/PAP

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