Russian artist arrested for replacing product labels in supermarket

Russian justice on Wednesday announced the imprisonment of Alexandra Skotchilenko, accused of spreading false information about Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.

The artist is incarcerated until May 31 and is accused of spreading “false information” about the…Russian armya crime that carries a serious jail sentence, the St. Petersburg Courts Communication Service said in a statement. Alexandra Skochilenko has “posted pieces of paper with deliberately false information about the use of the Russian armed forces on price tags” in a supermarket, according to the same source.

“It’s a serious crime”she continued, convinced that the artist was “motivated by political hostility to the Russian Federation”† This arrest and the vocabulary used to describe it illustrate the increasingly hostile climate that prevails Russia against any voice opposing Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine since February 24, 2022.

Under a recent law, publishing information deemed false by authorities about the military is punishable by a 10-year prison term, or even 15 years in the case of “serious consequences” for the military. The simple act of using the words war or “invasion” to describe the intervention, or to summon civilians killed by Russian forces, is enough to be the subject of prosecution.

Thousands of protesters arrested

Alexandra Skotchilenko, who describes herself as an “independent artist”, has repeatedly criticized the intervention in Ukraine on social networks. She had been fined in March 2022 for demonstrating against the offensive.

The Communications Service of the Saint Petersburg Courts has reported several cases in recent days where people have been punished for expressing their opposition. For example, on Tuesday 12 April, a woman was sentenced to a fine of 30,000 rubles (330 euros at the current rate) for hanging toys with small banners “no to war” in a shop.

the Kremlin has stepped up the crackdown in recent weeks, arresting thousands of protesters, blocking independent media and social media, and using words like “purging” society or “traitors”.

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