Ilya Yashin is one of Russia’s most prominent opponents and has been imprisoned for eight-and a half years for spreading fake news about Russia’s military.
Yashin was one of the few Kremlin critics who remained in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. He continued to oppose war.
After he condemned Russian war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, he was arrested.
Russia soon made it a crime to report false information shortly after the invasion.
Although several Russians were sentenced to prison, Yashin’s sentence was the longest.
Although he denied the charges, Judge Oksana Goryunova stated that he knew that he had disseminated false information about Russian armed forces.
He had previously spoken on his YouTube channel last April about the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Ukraine by Russia’s occupying force in Bucha. This was outside of Kyiv.
The court was informed by him that he had provided both the Ukrainian and Russian versions of the story. During the video, the actor shared stories and images from the BBC’s scene with the court. Russia’s defense ministry condemned the accusations and described images of dead civilians in “staged” as a fake “provocation”.
Prosecutors wanted a nine-year sentence. Maria Eismont, his lawyer, stated that they would appeal against this verdict.
Yashin posted a Telegram message to his supporters, saying that there was no reason for sadness: “We told truth about war crimes. We called for an end of the bloodshed.”
Alexei Navalny (Russia’s most well-known opposition leader) said that the ” shameless, lawless verdict by Putin’s court won’t silence Ilya” and described him as the first friend he made in politics.
Interview with Yashin by BBC Russian, July. Yashin stated that his arrest was not surprising, since Russian authorities had made it clear that there were only two options for Kremlin enemies: emigration and prison.
Yashin’s supporters criticized Friday’s sentence outside of court as unjust and in violation of freedom of speech.