Member of Pussy Riot sentenced to six years in prison in Russia for spreading misinformation about the Ukraine conflict.

In March 2022, Russian prosecutors accused Pussy Riot member Liudmila Stein of spreading false information about the Russian Armed Forces. Stein, who is abroad and wanted by Russia since May 2022, had previously been sentenced to one year of restricted freedom for violating sanitary regulations during a demonstration in support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny. She later cut off her electronic ankle bracelet as ordered by the court and left Russia, receiving a fine in absentia for discrediting the Armed Forces.

The Prosecutor’s Office requested an eight-year sentence with a four-year internet ban for Stein, but she was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison in absentia. The charges were based on a tweet she posted commenting on a video of Ukrainian soldiers shooting at Russian prisoners of war.

Pussy Riot, known for their opposition activism, gained notoriety in 2012. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, over 19,855 people have been detained in Russia for expressing anti-war views. Prosecutors had asked for an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for Stein, who jokingly mentioned that they had bet on a nine-year sentence.

Stein eventually settled in Iceland, where she was granted citizenship in May 2023. The ongoing crackdown on dissent in Russia has led to increased repression against activists and opposition figures, with many facing severe punishment for speaking out against the government’s actions.

By Riley Johnson

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