The Russian president claimed that he was forced to send his troops into Ukraine to rid the country of its fascist rulers. He justified his “special military operation” on the basis that Russia was on a mission to “de-nazify” its western neighbour for its own good and that of Russia’s. However, a recent ruling by a local court has turned that idea on its head, much to the embarrassment of the Russian despot and his Kremlin stooges.
The Omsk regional court ruled in a recent case that the phrase “No to Nazism” discredited the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
As such, anyone bearing placards with the slogan could be prosecuted for a federal crime.
Critics were quick to point out the ruling was “absurd” given that the whole point of the Russian army’s involvement in Ukraine was to rid the country of Nazis.
The ruling was issued against Richard Roman King who was arrested by police on April 11 for holding a placard with the “criminal” slogan.
Mr King’s actions were timed to coincide with the International Day for the Liberation of Prisoners of Nazi Concentration Camps.
The activist was detained ten days later by the police and was fined 30,000 roubles (£403) for his efforts.
Commenting on the ruling, a prominent anti-Putin activist Daniil Chebykin said: “The absurdity of this whole story is that the Russian army, according to Putin and propaganda, ‘is fighting Nazism in Ukraine.’
“But the Russian court fined Richard Roman King for the slogan ‘No to Nazism.’
“And now the following conclusion suggests itself.
“If the ‘No to Nazism’ poster discredits the Russian army, it turns out that the Russian army is for Nazism.”
During the police interrogation, an FSB officer informed Mr King he had compiled a detailed folder on him and that he was determined to send him to jail.
Mr King is reported to have fled Russia in a bid to avoid being incarcerated.
The Russian parliament introduced a new censorship law back in March, as it sought to prevent public criticism of its invasion of Ukraine.
Under its statutes, citizens can be fined large amounts or face up to five years in prison for “discrediting” Russian Armed Forces.
The Kremlin has stepped up efforts to recruit Russians into its army as it desperately seeks to bolster its front line forces.
Reports have emerged of volunteer battalions being formed in the country’s regions.
Mr Chebykin described to Express.co.uk how covert mobilisation had already been going on for some time.
He said 30 to 40-year-old reservists were being lured with lucrative contracts promising payments of around 260,000 roubles (£3,493) – a huge amount of money in terms of average Russian wages.
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The activist also claimed recruitment offices were using emotional blackmail to entice people to sign up.
He related how his lodger had been persuaded to rejoin the ranks after recruitment officers told him he could avenge the deaths of his brothers, who had been killed in fighting in Ukraine.
Mr Chebykin explained: “Yesterday he told me he had signed a contract and was leaving to fight in Ukraine.
“He has brothers who were killed there and he said he was going to revenge their deaths.
“I tried to talk him out of it but I didn’t succeed. He had served in the army and been released from service long ago, but the recruitment office tempted him by saying he could revenge the deaths of his brothers.
“It is so cynical – the methods used by the state.”