Young Activists Given Parole-Like Sentences In Moscow

MOSCOW -- A court in Moscow has handed parole-like sentences to three young pro-democracy activists for splashing paint on a booth at the entrance to the Prosecutor-General's Office last year to protest against a crackdown on activists.

The court on May 11 found the trio guilty of vandalism and sentenced both Igor Basharimov and Ivan Vorobyovsky to 21 months of "freedom limitation," while Olga Misik was sentenced to two years of "freedom limitation."

Basharimov and Vorobyovsky were also banned from leaving their homes between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., while Misik was banned from leaving her home between 10 p.m and 6 a.m. The defendants were also ordered not to change their permanent addresses during the terms of their sentences.

The three activists admitted they splashed paint on the booth, but insisted the action cannot be defined as vandalism as the booth was not damaged.

The activists launched the protest during the high-profile extremism case against members of the New Greatness youth group. Many in Russia consider the New Greatness case to be trumped-up by Russian's Federal Security Service (FSB).

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence the three activists to two years and nine months of freedom limitation.

In her final statement during testimony at the trial last month, Misik said that democracy will win in Russia sooner or later.

"I cannot promise that we will win tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, in one or 10 years. But one day, we will win, because love and youth always win," she said.

Misik became well-known after she read the Russian Constitution to riot police during protest rallies in Moscow in 2019. She was 17 at the time.


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Misik told Current Time on May 10 that the case was filed against her and the other two activists "because in our country, it is forbidden to protest against the authorities."

The case "is punishment for your thoughts," Olga Misik said.

Her mother told Current Time that she understood the possible repercussions her daughter could face when she started her pro-democracy activism at the age of 16, but could not stop her.

"She chose this path and it is necessary to support her," Guzel Misik said.

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