A Russian court has sentenced an anti-war activist to seven years in a penal colony for replacing supermarket labels in a St Petersburg supermarket with anti-war messages.
ArtistSasha Skochilenko, 33, mounted the protests just weeks after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
According to the BBC, she was convicted of ‘discrediting the Russian army’ under repressive laws adopted in the wake of the invasion. The legislation effectively criminalises all anti-war activism.
Skochilenko’s replacement supermarket labels read, ‘The Russian army bombed an art school in Mariupol. Around 400 people were hiding inside’ and ‘My great grandfather did not fight in WWII for four years so that Russia could become a fascist state and attack Ukraine’.
She admitted the charges.
In her closing statement, the BBC reports, the artist struck a defiant tone, asking the court: ‘How little faith does our prosecutor have in our state and society if he thinks that our statehood and public security can be ruined by five small pieces of paper?
‘Say what you want – (that) I was wrong, or I was brainwashed, I will stand by my opinion and my truth.’
The BBC notes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has overseen an unprecedented crackdown on domestic opposition in parallel with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The laws used to convict Skochilenko have been used to target scores of critics of his rule.