Russia wants to jail opposition activist, anti-war official

Jul 7, 2022, 3:31 AM | Updated: 3:40 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to winners of the Leaders of Russia Competition, the flagsh...

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to winners of the Leaders of Russia Competition, the flagship project of the Russia - Land of Opportunity presidential platform in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, July 7, 2022. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian prosecutors on Thursday called for prison sentences for a prominent opposition activist and for a Moscow city council member who opposes the invasion of Ukraine, in a sign the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent continues to gather pace.

Prosecutors asked that Andrei Pivovarov, former head of the Open Russia organization, be given a five-year sentence for “directing an undesirable organization,” a criminal offense under a 2015 law, according to his lawyer, Sergei Badamshin.

Pivovarov rejected the charges and pointed out during the court hearing that the criminal case was opened two days after Open Russia shut down. The group disbanded in an attempt to shield members from prosecution after it was designated an “undesirable” organization.

Pivovarov was pulled off a Warsaw-bound plane at St. Petersburg’s airport just before takeoff in May 2021. He was taken to the southern city of Krasnodar, where he was accused of supporting a local candidate on behalf of an “undesirable” organization. The criminal charge is based on a his social media posts supporting independent candidates in Krasnodar’s municipal elections.

Badamshin, the lawyer, said prosecutors also requested that his client be barred from holding office for eight years.

Also on Thursday, a Russian prosecutor asked for a seven-year sentence for a Moscow city council member who spoke up against Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Alexei Gorinov, who was detained in April, is the first Russian elected representative to face prison for spreading “knowingly false information” about the Russian army, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Gorinov criticized Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine at a city council meeting in March, a recording of which is now available on YouTube. The video shows him voicing skepticism over a planned children’s art competition in his constituency while “every day children are dying” in Ukraine.

At a court hearing last month, Gorinov was photographed holding up a sign saying “I am against the war” as he sat in the defendant’s cage.

Moscow effectively outlawed independent discussion of its Ukraine operation, including all references to it as a “war” or “invasion,” weeks after its troops rolled into Ukraine.

In another development Thursday, Russia issued an arrest warrant for Ilya Krasilshchik, an outspoken tech executive and former publisher of a leading independent Russian news site, Meduza.

Russian media have linked the charges against Krasilshchik, who left Russia in early March, to an Instagram post in which he voiced shock and outrage over the mass executions of civilians in Kyiv suburbs that were occupied by Russian troops in early spring.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

8 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

8 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

8 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

9 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

9 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thu...

Zeke Miller, Seung Min Kim, Lisa Mascaro and Colleen Long, The Associated Press

Biden says during news conference he’s going to ‘complete the job’ despite calls to bow out

Biden used his highly anticipated news conference to deliver a defense of his policies and batted away questions about his ability to serve.

12 days ago

Russia wants to jail opposition activist, anti-war official