Russia detains ex-mayor for “discrediting” army over Ukraine war remarks
Russian opposition figure Yevgeny Roizman said he was detained by security forces in Russia’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, on Wednesday for comments he made about Putin’s war on Ukraine.
Driving the news: Roizman, who served as mayor of Yekaterinburg from 2013-2018, was charged with “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” according to a post on his Telegram account.
- The Kremlin critic told reporters he was arrested for criticizing the Russian Army after “basically saying one phrase” on several occasions — “the invasion of Ukraine,” according to a video translated by Reuters.
- Russian state media reported authorities were investigating the staunch supporter of imprisoned political leader Alexei Navalny for “discrediting the Russian army.”
The big picture: Soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Kremlin cracked down on free speech while increasing suppression efforts in order to control how Russians perceive the war.
What we’re watching: Russian courts have fined Roizman three times this year after he was hit with similar charges to the one he faces now, clearing the way for a potential criminal case for repeat offenders, AP notes.
- Roizman faces up to three years in prison if he’s convicted.