Russian courts have imprisoned more people under wartime censorship laws so far in 2023 than in all of 2022, the Kommersant business daily reported Monday, citing Supreme Court data.
Russia outlawed “discrediting” and spreading “deliberately false” information about the Russian military shortly after it invaded Ukraine 21 months ago.
According to Kommersant, eight out of 21 convictions for “war fakes” resulted in real jail time between January and June 2023.
By comparison, there were two prison sentences out of 14 convictions for “war fakes” in all of 2022.
Two out of 15 people found guilty of “discrediting” the Russian military were sentenced to prison in 2023.
In 2022, Kommersant reported there were three convictions and no jail terms for “discrediting” the Armed Forces.
The overall number of convictions in “war fakes” and “discrediting” cases is on track to surge by the end of 2023 as courts wrap up trials that began last year, expert and lawyer Stanislav Seleznev told Kommersant.
Russia’s censorship laws have effectively banned anti-war statements and news that clashes with the Kremlin’s narrative of what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The UN estimates that nearly 200 people have been prosecuted for “fake news” about the Russian military as of mid-2023.
Kommersant also reported that 15 people were jailed for treason in 2023, up from three jail terms and one suspended sentence in January-June 2022.
Criminal cases on charges of justifying terrorism resulted in 167 jail terms in January-June 2023, compared with 126 during the same period of 2022.