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Russian Anti-War Activist Dmitry Skurikhin Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for "Discrediting" the Military

Russian anti-war activist and entrepreneur Dmitry Skurikhin (Дмитрий Скурихин) has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for "discrediting" the Russian military after he displayed a poster with the words "Sorry, Ukraine" ("Прости, Украина").

A court in Lomonosov, an inner-city municipality within St. Petersburg, found him guilty of "repeatedly discrediting the army." The poster was ordered to be burned. The prosecution had demanded that Skurikhin be sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

Russian authorities opened two separate criminal cases against Skurikhin.


Skurikhin and his wife in front of the Lomonosov District Court on July 28. Screenshot from Sotavision YouTube channel 


The first case dates back to 2022, after the enterpreneur painted the façade of his store with anti-war slogans and the names of Ukrainian cities that were attacked by the Russian army. 

Investigators searched his house for 11 hours: they broke the door, smashed a window, seized phones and computers, including those belonging to his children. 



A second case against Skurikhin was filed in February this year after he knelt down holding a poster "Sorry, Ukraine" on the anniversary of the Russian invasion. Photos of his protest went viral on social media in Russia.

On February 24 he was arrested. In April, he was released and placed under house arrest. In May, a District Court in St. Petersburg fined him 45,000 rubles in an administrative case for "discrediting" the army because of an anti-war video he posted on Telegram.

Skurikhin's anti-war activism began as far back as 2014. After Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the region of Crimea, he wrote on his store front in huge letters: "Peace to Ukraine, freedom to Russia" ("Мир Украине, свободу России").

In June 2023, the anti-war slogans on the façade of his store were painted over by unknown persons. Footage from his surveillance camera showed eight people arriving at the building at night: five painted over the façade, while the other three filmed what was happening.

In 2022 the Russian government introduced legislation against "discrediting" the military. 

Article 280.3 states that "public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation" are punishable by fines and prison terms of up to five years.

Article 207.3 states that "public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation" is punishable by fines and prison sentences of up to 15 years


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Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/russian/articles/c4n5v92k30no

https://meduza.io/en/news/2023/02/26/russian-activist-arrested-charged-with-discrediting-the-army-after-a-one-man-anti-war-protest

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/how-russia-is-applying-new-laws-stifle-dissent-ukraine-2022-08-26/

https://youtu.be/ZhPinrEPSZM

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