A Russian court gave a two-year suspended sentence Thursday to a St. Petersburg woman who left a note on the grave of President Vladimir Putin’s parents that said they had “raised a freak and a killer.”
The court found Irina Tsybaneva, 60, guilty of desecrating burial places motivated by political hatred. Her lawyer said she didn’t plead guilty because she hadn’t desecrated the grave physically or sought publicity for her action.
The note that Tsybaneva placed on the guarded grave on the eve of Putin’s birthday in October read: “Parents of a maniac, take him to your place. He causes so much pain and trouble. The whole world prays for his death. Death to Putin. You raised a freak and a killer.”
Since Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, the government has waged a crackdown on dissent unseen since the Soviet era.
In another case, a Russian government agency added actor Artur Smolyaninov and a former consultant who advised the Ukrainian president’s office to a list of “extremists and terrorists.”
In a January interview with the Europe edition of independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Smolyaninov stated that hypothetically, he would take part in hostilities only on Ukraine’s side.
The Ukrainian presidential consultant, Oleksiy Arestovich, resigned after stating online that a Russian missile that caused the deaths of 45 people in the city of Dnipro hit a residential building as a result of Ukrainian air defenses.
The Kremlin’s sweeping campaign of repression has criminalized criticism of the war. In addition to fines and jail sentences, those accused have been fired, blacklisted, branded as “foreign agents” or fled Russia.
Last year, thousands of Russians fled their home country after the Kremlin enacted new laws threatening jail time for spreading “misinformation” about the military.
A mother and her two children managed to escape to San Francisco, citing the fear of being persecuted.
“I’m actually very angry that I had to go. But… what did it for me was another of Putin’s speeches when he mentioned atomic weapons, I was like ‘now I’m scared,'” the mother, Yulia, told CBS News.