Criminal case under part 1 of article 280.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on repeated discrediting the use of armed forces was brought against 52-year-old journalist and civil activist from Kaliningrad Mikhail Feldman, the Sova center reported in a dispatch received by Kasparov.ru on May 11.
According to the Telegram channel Monitoring, there are two episodes in the case. Initially, investigators were going to request that Feldman be placed in custody, but the defense, according to lawyer Maria Bonzler, insisted that the activist not be subjected to such a preventive measure, since he suffers from cerebral palsy and is required to care for his elderly mother as an only child.
Mikhail’s use of the Internet was restricted, he was ordered to sleep at home and not to come closer than 50 meters to the buildings where state bodies are located.
Earlier Feldman, a former biologist, was fined 30 thousand rubles under Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code for going to an anti-war rally on March 6, 2022.
In the opinion of Sova experts, the introduction of a ban on discrediting the actions of the Russian military and government agencies abroad was an unjustified restriction of the right to freedom of expression, designed to suppress criticism of the authorities’ political course.
In 2020-2021, the court convicted Feldman twice under Art. 329 of the Criminal Code (insulting state symbols). The first time he was sentenced to two months of restricted freedom for a picture on a social network. The second time the prosecution was due to the fact that Feldman brought a Russian flag with him during the court session and wiped his feet on it. The court sentenced him to six months of restricted freedom, but on appeal this punishment was replaced with five months of suspended imprisonment.
Even earlier, in 2015, Feldman was sentenced to a year, a month, and 23 days in prison for protesting the annexation of Crimea: together with his comrades, he hung a German flag on the roof of the local FSB. Mikhail said in court: “If anyone does not like the flag of modern Germany, which has legislated against fascism in all its manifestations, then let those people imagine themselves in the place of the residents of Ukraine, who are forced to see other people’s flags on their land every day”, the Live Journal wrote.
The activist was released in the courtroom, taking into account the time spent in the detention center. Then he was also found guilty of possession of explosives.
OVD-Info maintains an infographic of criminal prosecutions in Russia for discrediting the military. There are already more than 550 people on the list.