Man jailed in Russian-annexed Crimea for ‘rehabilitating Nazism’

By Thomson Reuters Feb 27, 2024 | 4:51 AM

(Reuters) – A court in Russian-annexed Crimea has sentenced a man to two-and-a-half years in prison for “rehabilitating Nazism”, the regional Investigative Committee said on Tuesday, amid a crackdown on behaviour deemed unpatriotic since the start of the war in Ukraine.

The 30-year-old man, whom the committee did not name, was found guilty of distributing information online “denigrating the significance of the Victory Day of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War”. It said he “distorted historical facts about the decisive and significant role of the USSR in the fight against fascism”.

Russia uses the term “Great Patriotic War” to refer to World War Two.

Moscow repeatedly refers to the Kyiv government as a Nazi regime and justifies its invasion of Ukraine – which it calls a special military operation – as defending Russian-speakers against Nazism.

Together with its Western allies, Ukraine – whose president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is Jewish – rejects that as a false pretext for a war of conquest. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union and itself suffered devastation at the hands of Hitler’s forces.

The Kremlin has cracked down on domestic dissent and also on behaviour that can be construed as unpatriotic in the two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

This month Russian authorities detained a 23-year-old woman on suspicion of “rehabilitating Nazism” after she filmed a video mocking a World War Two monument in Volgograd and uploaded it to social media.

A dual U.S.-Russian national was detained in December for posts on social media in which he was alleged to have denigrated the St. George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military valour.

(Reporting by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Angus MacSwan)