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Russian filmmaker jailed who criticised the Kremlin’s military actions in Ukraine via social media

MOSCOW: A St. Petersburg court announced that a Russian filmmaker, who voiced criticism against the Kremlin’s military actions in Ukraine via social media, has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Russia criminalized opposition to its termed “special military operation” shortly after deploying troops into Ukraine in February 2022, resulting in the detainment of numerous individuals for minor acts of protest.

Vsevolod Korolyov, aged 36, had been held in pre-trial detention since July 2022 under suspicion of “knowingly disseminating false information about Russia’s armed forces.”

The Vyborgsky District Court in St. Petersburg found him guilty of sharing “inaccurate” posts on the VKontakte social platform during the spring of 2022 regarding purported civilian massacres in Bucha and Borodianka, along with the shelling of Donetsk.

The court stated, “The sentence imposed is three years’ imprisonment in a general regime penal colony,” additionally noting a four-year internet usage restriction.

Despite prosecutors’ plea for a nine-year imprisonment, Korolyov’s conviction aligns with Russian law, which deems information about Ukraine not originating from official government sources as “false,” thereby subjecting its dissemination to criminal charges.

Korolyov’s sentencing follows a recent case in Russia’s Volgograd region, where a local resident received a five-year prison term for a similar offense.

Since initiating its military action in Ukraine, Moscow has enforced an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, drawing parallels from rights groups to the mass repression witnessed during the Soviet era.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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