Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, saying it was a “special operation” to save Ukraine from Nazis and an invalid government.
According to Russia, Ukraine is run by western-backed criminals and drug addicts who illegally seized the government after the 2014 Euromaidan revolution overthrew pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych.
The war against Ukraine is not officially a war, according to Russia. It is a special mission to liberate and demilitarize the country.
Under this rationale, Russia made it illegal to refer to the campaign as a war or to speak out against it. The law was put through a few months ago, but only recently has Russia begun making an example of Russians who speak out.
Russia Hauls City Council Member to Jail
Alexei Gorinov is a city council member in one area of Moscow. He only works at the municipal level, but is not a supporter of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
He called into question why Russia is doing this and denounced its war back in March at a council meeting.
He ended up being charged as a result of this and had to appear before court, where he was sentenced on Friday to seven years behind bars.
Vladimir Putin’s government is showing they are very serious here about cracking down on dissenters and decided to make an example of Gorinov. Officially, he’s charged for voicing false information and trying to get other people to believe it.
The penalty has up to 15 years in jail for it, so Gorinov actually got off easy by the standards of what the judge could have given him.
Gorinov, 60, is notable because he’s the first Russian to get sent to jail under this censorship law. There have been others who were found guilty of the disinformation offense, but they were just penalized financially and given probation.
Gorinov was likely chosen since he is an example of a local-level politician who thought he could get away with speaking his mind.
A maximum sentence you can get for rape in Russia is 6 years.
Independent MP Alexei Gorinov got 7 for saying that Russia is waging a war in Ukraine.
— Anton Barbashin (@ABarbashin) July 8, 2022
What Did Gorinov Say?
Specifically, Gorinov said “dying” kids in Ukraine deeply troubles him and he can’t support a war that’s not necessary in the first place.
During his trial, he refused to back down and held a sign asking Russians why they need this war.
He said that “shame” is what he and many Russians feel and they don’t buy into the idea this is a “special operation.” Furthermore, he said he hates the “dehumanization” that war creates of telling you that your enemy is less human and less valuable than you.
Gorinov is one of many Russians who oppose the war, including large crowds in St. Petersburg and other cities that swept the streets with protests.
However, the Kremlin arrested thousands of these people, fined them and threatened them.
Then, by putting in these strict laws, the Kremlin managed to squelch most opposition. Going after people like Gorinov is an important part of their plan as well, as they make a showcase of what happens to those who cross the line.
🧵😢Please share Moscow Municipal Councilman & attorney Alexei Gorinov’s final speech at his show trial, for charges stemming from suggesting the council honor the dead with 1-minute of silence & cancel certain festive activities: ⬇️
(Photo: "DO YOU STILL NEED THIS WAR?") pic.twitter.com/4kIcK6Cr1B
— Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) July 9, 2022