Russian Authorities Detain 19,855 Individuals for Anti-War Views; Pussy Riot Member Liudmila Stein Sentenced to Prison in Absentia

Pussy Riot member in Russia sentenced to six years in prison for spreading “false information” about Ukraine war

In February 2022, Russian authorities detained at least 19,855 individuals for expressing anti-war views after President Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine. Among those arrested was Pussy Riot member Liudmila (Lucy) Stein, who was sentenced to six years in prison in absentia for spreading “false information” about the Russian Armed Forces on Twitter.

Despite being abroad and on Russia’s wanted list, Stein had previously been convicted of violating sanitary regulations during a demonstration in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and was given a one-year sentence. After the war began, she cut off her electronic ankle bracelet and fled the country.

The criminal case against Stein was based solely on a tweet she posted in March 2022 commenting on a video showing Ukrainian soldiers shooting at Russian prisoners of war. However, prosecutors had initially requested an eight-year sentence and a four-year internet ban for Stein.

Pussy Riot gained notoriety for their protest in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 2012. Stein and her girlfriend and fellow Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina eventually settled in Iceland after fleeing Moscow and being granted citizenship. Despite this, Prosecutors had requested an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for Stein, who is now residing in Iceland.

Stein’s mother had joked that they would ask for a nine-year sentence, but ultimately it was six years in prison that she received for her actions during the war.

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