'To Hell With Your Mobilization': Russian Who Denounced Ukraine War On His Storefront Could Face Prison

By North.Realities
 
Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February, businessman Dmitry Skurikhin has covered the facade of his store in a village near St. Petersburg with anti-war messages to protest the Kremlin aggression.

Skurikhin has already been hit with fines for his anti-war activism since Russia's invasion of Ukraine for allegedly "discrediting" the Russian military.

"I think about my safety every day. But it's more important that people come around to my point of view. I'll do all I can to achieve that. What can happen to me? I might go to prison. That's OK," Skurikhin, who lives in the Leningrad region village of Russko-Vysotskoye, told Current Time in August.

Now, Skurikhin has been detained and had his apartment raided after he hung a sign on his storefront critical of the partial military mobilization that Putin announced on September 21 that read: "Go to hell with your mobilization. That's where the road leads for such management of the country."

Skurikhin is facing criminal charges that could result in up to five years in prison, according to the Russian rights group Setevyye Svobody (Network Freedoms).

Russian authorities raided Skurikhin's home on September 23, an operation that his family said left the house trashed, and detained him pending a court hearing.

The Leningrad region's Lomonosov district court on September 25 released Skurikhin from custody but ordered him not to speak with witnesses or use messaging services or e-mail, Setevyye Svobody said in a Telegram post.

Skurikhin's attorney, Dmitry Gerasimov, was unable to provide details about the case against his client due to a gag order.

Skurikhin posted on his Facebook page on September 23 that the Russian Investigative Committee was raiding his home, posting several photographs from the scene.

The following day, rights activist Dinar Idrisov posted on Facebook that the raid had lasted 11 hours, and that officials had turned Skurikhin's home, where he lives with his wife and three underage children, upside down.

Idrisov wrote that officials had also confiscated all cash in his home, as well as all telephones, computers, and tablets, including those of his children.

"They left a family with several children completely without money," Idrisov told RFE/RL, adding that windows in the family's two-story home were broken during the raid as well.

Idrisov told RFE/RL that he and other activists suspected that an officer with Russia's powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor agency to the Soviet KGB, was present during the raid but that nobody saw this person's documents.

According to Idrisov, the criminal case is linked to the sign denouncing Putin's military mobilization that Skurikhin hung on the facade of his store on September 21.

Skurikhin said in a Facebook post that his wife had asked him not to hang the sign and had refused to help him do so.