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Russian Opposition Figure Roizman Detained for Criticizing Ukraine Invasion

Yevgeny Roizman speaking to journalists after his arrest. Donat Sorokin / TASS

Yevgeny Roizman, a former opposition mayor of one of Russia’s largest cities, was detained Wednesday on criminal charges related to his public criticism of the invasion of Ukraine, media outlets reported.

Ex-Yekaterinburg mayor Roizman said he was being charged under legislation that forbids the "discreditation" of the Russian Armed Forces. If found guilty, he faces up to five years in prison. 

Footage of his detention shared by the Kremlin-linked Telegram channel Mash showed masked agents shouting “police, open up!” while entering an apartment block.

The video cuts off when Roizman is shown opening his door.

Police also raided several properties linked to Roizman, including a Christian Orthodox museum and several Yekaterinburg offices, the state-run TASS news agency reported, citing local security services.

Roizman confirmed the charges against him, shouting from his window to journalists outside his building that the criminal case was initiated “in Moscow.”

TASS, citing unnamed law enforcement sources in Yekaterinburg, reported that Roizman was detained “because of videos on his YouTube channel.”

Leaving his apartment with police officers, Roizman said he was detained for "one phrase - the invasion of Ukraine." Asked where he said it by a journalist, he replied "everywhere."

The ex-mayor has previously been fined three times under Russia’s laws against “discrediting” the military that were passed in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

More than 200 people, including prominent Kremlin critics Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin, face criminal prosecution for voicing opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Roizman served as mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, from 2013 to 2018. He was a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, in 2003-07.

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