The pro-war chief editor of a news publication in southern Russia has been charged with “discrediting” the country's Armed Forces just a day after receiving an award for “patriotism,” local media reported Tuesday.
Rostov-on-Don's 1RND news website said its editor-in-chief Yelena Dorovskikh is accused of publishing news last fall about anti-mobilization leaflets that contained instructions on how to surrender to the Ukrainian army.
“The [police] report was filed literally the day after the ceremonial presentation of the medal ‘for military-patriotic work’ to [Dorovskikh],” 1RND wrote, adding that the journalist has received dozens of other government awards throughout her career.
Lawyer Vladimir Chesnokov slammed the charges as interference in the news outlet’s journalistic work.
“The defense will provide the court with all the necessary arguments indicating that our client is a true patriot of Russia who supports the government and the president’s policy,” Chesnokov said.
Russia has launched thousands of misdemeanor cases for “discrediting” the Russian army since lawmakers passed wartime censorship laws days after Moscow's troops rolled into Ukraine in February 2022.
Repeat offenders risk being jailed for up to five years, while those convicted of “spreading false information” — another wartime censorship law — face up to 15 years in prison.