A Russian court has sentenced Vladimir Milov, an exiled ally of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, to eight years in prison in absentia for speaking out against Moscow’s war on Ukraine, media reported Thursday.
Moscow’s Basmanny District Court found Milov guilty of spreading “false information” about the Russian military in a March 2022 YouTube stream titled “Putin’s War Crimes,” according to the independent news website Mediazona.
Prosecutors, who accused Milov of “distaste for the authorities and hatred of political institutions,” had asked the court to hand Milov a nine-year prison sentence.
Milov dismissed the verdict on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), writing: “you won’t get away with eight years in your own time, comrades commissars.”
Milov, who served as deputy energy minister in 2002, fled Russia in 2021 in fear of prosecution after nationwide pro-Navalny rallies. He said at the time that he would work to increase international pressure on the Russian authorities from abroad.
Russia’s Justice Ministry added Milov to its list of “foreign agents” in May 2022.
Shortly after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russia criminalized the spread of information about Russia's military that deviated from the Kremlin’s narrative of the war.
Spreading “false information” about the Russian Armed Forces is punishable by up to 10 years in prison under the country’s wartime censorship laws.