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Russian Ex-Teacher Jailed for Military Enlistment Arson Attacks

Ilya Farber. Mikhail Dzhaparidze / ITAR-TASS

An earlier version of this story said Farber is the first Russian to be jailed for attacking a military enlistment office. This has been corrected.

A Russian court has handed down one of the country's first jail sentences for arson of a military enlistment office amid a string of attacks nationwide sparked by the invasion of Ukraine.

Around 70 military recruitment centers and government buildings have been attacked across Russia since the country launched its invasion on Feb. 24 and ordered a “partial” mobilization of reservists on Sept. 21, according to independent media estimates.

Ilya Farber was found guilty of throwing Molotov cocktails at a draft office and a military enlistment office in central Russia’s republic of Udmurtia in May, causing a fire and property damage, the regional court said Wednesday.

The court sentenced Farber to three years and two months in penal colony.

Farber, 48, who lives in the Moscow region 1,200 kilometers west of Udmurtia, had pleaded guilty to the charges.

He had testified during pre-trial investigation that “he wanted to test himself to see if he could throw a bottle” at the offices.

“After he saw the fire, he realized what he had done and now regrets his actions,” the court said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app.

He faced a maximum punishment of five years in jail and a fine of 2.6 million rubles ($43,000) under the charges.

Russian media identified Farber as a former rural arts, literature and music teacher who was jailed for bribery in 2012 in a region north of Moscow.

A court reduced Farber’s eight-year prison term by more than half in 2013 after President Vladimir Putin expressed outrage over the “egregious” original sentence.

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