Russian oppositionist Ilya Yashin was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison after being found guilty of spreading false news about Russian military forces after he spoke about abuses committed in Bucha on his YouTube channel last April. For another four years, Yashin will not be able to use the Internet. The prosecution had asked for a nine-year prison sentence. Yashin, a former deputy of the Krasnoselsky district assembly of Moscow, arrested last July, is one of the few remaining opponents in Russia.
The crime of false information about the military was introduced into the Russian penal code, along with that of discrediting the forces, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began. According to the judge, Yashin “disseminated false information, knowing he was doing so, motivated by political hatred”, despite knowing that Russia is working “to maintain peace and security” in Ukraine. “Stop this madness immediately,” Yashin said in his closing statement after the trial, referring to the war against Ukraine. There are 150 cases opened for spreading false news, while those for discrediting the armed forces are almost 5 thousand. Former district councilor in Moscow, Aleksei Gorinov, was sentenced to seven years earlier than Yashin.