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Siberian Pianist Jailed for ‘Nazi Propaganda’ After Playing Ukrainian Anthem

Video grab

A Siberian entrepreneur who played the Ukrainian national anthem in public has been found guilty of “Nazi propaganda,” a local court said Thursday in the latest example of Russia's ongoing crackdown on wartime dissent.

The Tyumen resident, identified as Vladimir Fofanov by the OVD-Info police-monitoring website, was shown performing the anthem on a piano set up on an embankment.

But the city’s court accused Fofanov of “shouting slogans of the banned organizations UNA-UNSO and the Right Sector.” 

Russia declared the far-right Ukrainian movement UNA-UNSO, part of the ultranationalist group Right Sector, a banned “extremist” organization after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

“Moreover, the man posted a video of his ‘concert’ on the internet,” the court said.

Videos of Fofanov playing the anthem posted online this week did not show him shouting or speaking the slogans he is accused of.

Still, Tyumen’s Central District Court sentenced the suspect it identified as Vladimir F. to 14 days in jail on misdemeanor charges of Nazi propaganda. 

It added that Fofanov pleaded guilty and vowed not to repeat the offense.

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