Lawyer Of Russian Artist Who Used Price Tags For Anti-War Protest May Lose His License


Lawyer Yury Novolodsky, who is defending an artist on trial for using price tags in a St. Petersburg store to distribute information about Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, may lose his license.

Novolodsky's colleague, Aleksandr Meleshko, told RFE/RL on April 11 that the St. Petersburg’s Chamber of Attorneys has launched two disciplinary cases against Novolodsky on unspecified charges, which may lead to the withdrawal of Novolodsky's license.

According to Meleshko, the hearing into Novolodsky's case is scheduled for April 20, the day when the trial of Novolodsky's client, Aleksandra Skochilenko, is due to resume.

"I do not think it is a coincidence," Meleshko emphasized.

Skochilenko is accused of replacing price tags in a supermarket in late March last year with pieces of paper containing "knowingly false information about the use of the Russian armed forces."

Skochilenko has said her actions were not about the army but instead an attempt to propagate peace.

Weeks after Russia started its ongoing unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that allows for lengthy prison terms for distributing "deliberately false information" about Russian military operations as the Kremlin seeks to control the narrative about its war in Ukraine.

The law envisages sentences of up to 10 years in prison for individuals convicted of an offense, while the penalty for the distribution of "deliberately false information" about the Russian armed forces that leads to "serious consequences" is 15 years in prison.

It also makes it illegal "to make calls against the use of Russian troops to protect the interests of Russia" or "for discrediting such use," with a possible penalty of up to three years in prison. The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.

Since its adoption, the law has been used to quell any dissent over Moscow's war in Ukraine.