Russian police have opened more than 3,300 cases for "discrediting" the army, an NGO said on Friday, an offense that came into force in early March to silence critics of the offensive in Ukraine.
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The NGO "Setevye Svobody", which provides legal aid to victims of political repression in Russia, said it calculated this figure between March 4 and July 14, on the databases of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.
"On average, the Russian police draw up 35 reports for discrediting the army per working day," said the NGO on its Telegram account.
This offense is punishable by fines of up to 100,000 rubles ($2,240) for an ordinary individual and up to one million rubles ($22,240) for a legal entity. It is up to a court, after a hearing, to set the fine.
According to the NGO, Russian courts have already ordered more than 1,500 fines for "discrediting" the army for a total of more than 50 million rubles ($1,113,300).
The slightest criticism of the offensive in Ukraine, in the public space or on social networks, can lead to prosecution.
According to the specialized NGO OVD-Info, nearly 200 people who denounced the intervention in Ukraine have also been prosecuted in Russia in the context of criminal cases, punishable by very heavy prison sentences.
On July 8, a Muscovite elected official, Alexeï Gorinov, was sentenced to seven years in prison for “disseminating false information” about the Russian army after having publicly condemned the assault on Ukraine.