A Moscow court has fined opposition activists for staging a photo op with Russian and U.S. flags near the Kremlin in solidarity with a U.S. congressional proposal not to recognize Vladimir Putin’s presidency past 2024, independent media reported Wednesday.
The Parnas opposition party said police had detained three of its activists on Nov. 21 for the Red Square photo op.
According to the independent police-monitoring website OVD-Info, Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court fined Dmitry Androsov, Mikhail Rogov and Igor Shatin 10,000 rubles ($135) each.
They were found guilty of violating rules governing public events.
Though Federal Protection Service (FSO) rules ban taking Red Square photos and videos for commercial purposes without a permit, the independent Dozhd broadcaster reported that they make no mention of flags.
Parnas said on its website Nov. 21 that police officers had accused its activists of “shouting slogans against Putin’s new term.”
It added that the activists were voicing support for two U.S. congressmen’s Nov. 16 non-binding resolution to end the recognition of Putin as Russian president “if the autocrat remains in power” after his current term.
The Kremlin slammed their proposal as “aggressive” meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs.
Constitutional amendments passed last year grant Putin the ability to stay in power until 2036 — and surpass Josef Stalin as Russia's longest-serving leader since Peter the Great — by resetting his number of terms served.
This week, Putin said his ability to run for his fifth overall term — which he says he is still undecided about — “stabilizes” Russia.