Opposition politician Yashin charged with ‘fake news about Russian armed forces’

“shameful criminalization of freedom of expression in Russia must stop”.

Iris de Graaf

Correspondent Russia

“Let’s face it. Since February 24, I knew very well that I would be arrested. We all knew it. I was asked why I didn’t leave Russia. Okay, I’ll explain that: I don’t want it easy for them I don’t want to run and hide from those I despise.”

38-year-old opposition politician Ilya Yasjin wrote this under an Instagram post tonight after he was arrested earlier today. He is one of the last opposition members to remain in Russia.

‘Sharing fake information’
Yashin had been in prison since early June, serving a sentence for alleged disobedience to police. He was supposed to be released today, but was immediately re-arrested instead. This time he is charged with “sharing fake information about the Russian armed forces”. A Moscow court today ordered that Yashin be detained until September 12, until the official sentencing.

The politician could face up to 15 years in prison under new Russian legislation, which since March has banned “discrediting” the Russian armed forces publicly or citing information from unofficial sources. According to Reuters, Yashin yelled “Russia will be free!” after the judge agreed to prosecutors’ request to keep him in jail until September.

Audience figure
In addition to his work in regional politics, Yasjin also has a popular YouTube channel with more than 1.2 million subscribers. There he shares a lot of videos, since February mostly with criticism of the Russian performance in Ukraine. He also runs a popular Telegram channel. The judiciary is now prosecuting him based on a statement in one of his videos.

Amnesty International calls on Russia to release Yashin, writing that the “shameful criminalization of freedom of expression in Russia must stop”. According to the human rights group, since February, Russian authorities have “became even more brutal in their efforts to silence the political opposition, activists, and anyone who disagrees with the government”.

Opposition leader Navalny, who can still communicate through his lawyers, also spoke out on the case: “I demand the immediate release of Ilya Yasjin,” his team tweeted on his behalf. Yashin has spoken nothing but the truth about what is going on in Ukraine, according to Navalny.

Upcoming elections
Just last week, Moscow district councilor Alexei Gorinov was sentenced to seven years in prison. At a meeting in March, he criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It was one of the first cases where the new law on “discrediting the Russian army” was applied and such a long prison sentence was imposed.

Now Jasjin follows, a few days later. It appears that the authorities are busy dealing with the last remnants of opposition that remain. This may have to do with the approaching municipal elections on September 11, which are already being campaigned locally across the country.

Thousands arrested
In recent months, more than 200 criminal cases have been opened in Russia related to public protest or the ‘spreading of fake news’. More than 16,000 Russians have been detained since February; journalists, lawyers, mayors, artists, clergy and teachers. Some were given hefty fines, others were given house arrest or prison terms.

In his Instagram post, Jasjin refers to the high price that Russians have to pay today to “break the darkness”. “Boris Nemtsov paid with his life, hundreds of people now pay with their personal freedom. “But,” writes Yashin, “I promised that I would speak the truth out loud as long as I can. And that if I were to be arrested, I would take the blow with dignity. I keep my word”.

“I’m not afraid,” he concludes. “And you shouldn’t be afraid either.”

NOS news


227th Ukraine Battalion has reached the border with Russia . . .

Ukraine says troops have reached the border with Russia during the counteroffensive at the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has released a video showing soldiers at a border post. It would be men from a volunteer brigade from Kharkov.

The Ukrainian army said in recent days that Russian troops near Kharkov are gradually being pushed back. Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine and there has been heavy fighting since the beginning of the war.

The Russians are now focusing on the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhanks, where pro-Russian separatists have held some areas since 2014. British intelligence reported yesterday that the offensive in the Donbas has “lost its momentum” and is well behind schedule. The Russians have failed to capture “substantial parts of Ukraine” in the past month, according to the British.

The video released by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry:

Ukraine: Hundreds of dead Russian soldiers left behind

les Russes me déçoivent, cela ressemble beaucoup à un grand drame et ils ne gagnent pas grand-chose à Uraine et pensent qu’ils peuvent s’en tirer en tuant, en violant et en pillant. Quelle plate-forme laide c’est.

The Ukrainian army says it has found hundreds of dead Russian soldiers, including near Kiev. According to Ukraine, Russia leaves fallen soldiers on the battlefield. This has not been confirmed by independent sources. Footage from the AP and Reuters news agencies shows the bodies being transferred to refrigerated rail cars in body bags:

NOS media

the Russians disappoint me, seems very much like a big drama and they are not gaining much in Uraine and think they can get away with killing and raping, and looting. What an ugly rig it is.