The original anti-war protest by the Russian artist Alexandra Skochilenko, who changed the labels of a supermarket for pieces of paper with messages against Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, was punished this Thursday by a court in Saint Petersburg, the second city of Russia. He found her guilty of "deliberately spreading false information" about the Russian Army and sentenced her to seven years in prison.
The investigators and the prosecutor's office, which last week requested an 8-year prison sentence for her, consider that Skochilenko acted "intentionally, in order to publicly disseminate clearly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, for reasons of political hostility towards the Russian Federation," the Press Service of the St. Petersburg courts explains on its Telegram channel.
In addition to the prison sentence, he will not be able to use the internet for the next three years.
"Sasha" Skochilenko, a 33-year-old painter and musician, entered a Perekriostok chain supermarket in the city on March 31, 2022 and exchanged the price tags on the products for five small pieces of paper on which she asked for the price. end of the "special military operation", the euphemism officially applied in Russia to the Russian intervention in the neighboring country.
Among other things, it denounced the siege to which the Russian Army subjected the city of Mariupol, where according to Ukraine there were at least 20,000 deaths. One of the messages left in the supermarket said: (Russian President Vladimir) "Putin has been lying to us for 20 years. The consequence of his lies is that we are willing to justify a war and senseless deaths."
At the trial, the artist acknowledged the facts. But she denied the formal accusation of spreading false information about the military.
In her closing argument, she told the judge that she is a pacifist who values human life above all else. "Whatever decision you make, it will go down in history. You can show how to resolve a conflict with the help of words and compassion," she told the judge.
She was arrested on April 11, 2022 after a complaint from an establishment manager.
Skochilenko is one of the Russian activists and dissidents repressed by the harsh censorship laws passed shortly after the current armed conflict in Ukraine began on February 24 of last year. With them, she attempts to punish any criticism of the Russian Armed Forces or the military intervention in the neighboring country.
The most prominent Russian opponents are currently in prison or have gone into exile. Thousands of citizens have been investigated, fined or sentenced to prison for expressing their disagreement with the official position.
Skochilenko has been in preventive detention for more than a year and a half, despite the fact that his relatives and friends assure that his health is deteriorating. According to her mother, Nadezhda Skochilenko, she suffers from a chronic intestinal disease and a congenital heart problem.
"What will you tell your children? That one day you imprisoned an appreciated artist who was seriously ill for five pieces of paper?" Skochilenko snapped at the prosecutor who defended the accusation, according to recordings made by her followers. "I am not afraid, and perhaps that is precisely why my government is so afraid of me and keeps me in a cage like the most dangerous of animals."