A Russian court on Thursday handed down a two-year suspended sentence to a St. Petersburg woman who left a note on the grave of President Vladimir Putin’s parents saying they had «raised a monster and a murderer.»
The court found 60-year-old Irina Tsybaneva guilty of desecrating burial sites motivated by political hatred. Her attorney said she did not plead guilty because she did not physically desecrate the grave or seek publicity for her action.
The note Tsybaneva placed at the guarded grave on the eve of Putin’s birthday in October read: “Parents of a maniac, take him home. He causes so much pain and trouble. The whole world prays for his death. Death to Putin. You raised a weirdo and a killer.
Since Putin sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022, the government has cracked down on dissent unprecedented since the Soviet era.
In another case, a Russian government agency added actor Artur Smolyaninov and a former consultant who advised the Ukrainian president’s office to a list of «extremists and terrorists.»
In a January interview with the European edition of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Smolyaninov stated that, hypothetically, he would participate in hostilities only on the Ukrainian side.
Ukrainian presidential consultant Oleksiy Arestovich resigned after claiming online that a Russian missile that killed 45 people in the city of Dnipro struck a residential building as a result of Ukrainian air defenses.
In other news on Thursday:
A Russian military court has sentenced Nikita Tushkanov, a Komi history teacher, to five and a half years in prison for comments he made about the explosion of the Kerch bridge last year linking Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula to mainland Russia. . Tushkanov was found guilty of justifying terrorism and «discrediting» the Russian military. The teacher posted social media posts in October calling the bridge explosion “a birthday present” to Putin.
Jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny reported on Twitter that he was returned to a solitary confinement punishment cell just a day after his release from one. He didn’t speculate why. Navalny, 46, who exposed official corruption and organized mass protests against the Kremlin, was arrested in Moscow in January 2021 after recovering in Germany from a nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin. He initially received a prison sentence of two and a half years for a probation violation. Last year, he was sentenced to nine years for fraud and contempt of court. He is serving time in a maximum security prison 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Moscow.
The Kremlin’s extensive crackdown has criminalized criticism of the war. In addition to fines and prison terms, the defendants have been fired, blacklisted, branded “foreign agents” or have fled Russia.