Meshchansky Court of Moscow sentenced the municipal deputy Krasnoselsky district of the Russian capital Alexei Gorinov to seven years in prison under article 207.3 of the Russian criminal code, that is, for what the authorities call “dissemination of false information about the activities of the Russian Armed Forces.” In reality, we are talking about several statements at a meeting of the municipal council. This is the first real term under this article.
Seven real years of imprisonment in two words
In fact, the entire speech of Alexei Gorinov, as well as his colleague Elena Kotenochkina, who managed to leave Russia before her arrest, can be reduced to two simple and understandable words: “No to war!” Practically with the same slogan, the opposition politician came to court. “Do you still need this war?” – Gorinov wrote on the poster, which the guards unsuccessfully tried to hide from journalists with their carcasses.
The Russian authorities as a whole act in much the same way. The opposition municipal deputy, who was written to denunciation colleagues from United Russia, a court completely obedient to the Kremlin sends them to jail for 7 years after President Vladimir Putin himself publicly calls what is happening not a special operation, but directly says that this is a war. And to everyone who has not voluntarily given up the right to think and build logical connections, it is clear that in Gorinov’s speech, the authorities were more frightened by the parallels between the modern Russian political regime and fascism. They are too conspicuous. As well as the fact that on the day of the trial, the deputy very clearly hit on the most painful place – the duration of this war, which the Kremlin wanted to end in just a week, but suffered a decisive defeat. Everyone who reminds the Russians of this fact should understand that they may come for them.
Gorinov is not the last
The first sentence under this article was brought to Transbaikalia Petr Mylnikov, who was charged under its first part, in connection with which he was “only” sentenced to pay a fine of 1 million rubles. The second verdict was handed down in the Russian-occupied Crimea, where the former employee of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Andrei Samodurov, although he was accused, like Gorinov, under the second part of this article, which provides for “use of official position,” he pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence.
Thus, the case of the Krasnoselsky Moscow Mundep for the repressive machine was the first to end in a real term. But, unfortunately, hardly the last. There are already eight more in the courts similar cases, and at the teacher Irina Gen from Penza, who was reported by the students, the meeting is expected on July 13. Like Gorinov, this woman is charged under Part 2 of Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code for trying to tell her class the truth about Russian military aggression against Ukraine, that is, she spoke out at work and during working hours, and can receive a real sentence of up to 10 years. conclusions. In total, 68 criminal cases are currently being investigated in Russia about “military fakes“.
Signal for elections
The date of the sentencing of Alexei Gorinov is hardly accidental. The Russian courts are under the full control of the Kremlin and sentences are handed down according to the schedule drawn up there. For example, the Supreme Court time after time postpones the decision on the claim to recognize the Azov battalion as a terrorist organization. Here the Russian authorities are clearly bargaining with Ukraine.
So Gorinov was sentenced right now, not by coincidence, but due to the fact that in Russia, and in particular in Moscow, the municipal election campaign has started. Some opposition members, who have not yet been imprisoned simply for their words, insisted that this campaign could be used as a platform for speeches. But the authorities decided to rid the last Russian dreamers of illusions. Candidates and current municipal deputies en masse detain under articles that will not allow them to be elected later.
Well, Gorinov’s case is a clear signal. It is necessary to forget about the separation of municipal power from the executive in Russia, although it has signed the European Charter on Local Self-Government on this subject. Any municipal employee or deputy is considered by the Kremlin as a state official without the right to his own opinion. For attempts to speak out in opposition, he can be punished with a real prison term – noticeably stricter than “ordinary” citizens. So those who are still trying to go to the polls in Russia not only create the illusion of their legitimation, they also sign a “contract in blood” after the Gorinov case, giving up their convictions. And if not, then they simply prepare a place in the cell for themselves by these elections.
Author: Ivan Preobrazhensky, candidate of political sciences, expert on Central and Eastern Europe, columnist for a number of media. Writer of a weekly column for DW. Ivan Preobrazhensky on Facebook: Ivan Preobrazhensky
The comment expresses the personal opinion of the author. It may not coincide with the opinion of the Russian editors and Deutsche Welle in general.