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Student Who Photographed Moscow Enlistment Office Schedule Charged With Terrorism

Ibrahim Orujev in court. Antonina Favorskaya / SOTAvision

A Russian university student has been placed in pre-trial detention on charges of undergoing terrorist training after he took a photograph outside of a Moscow military enlistment office, the independent Mediazona news website reported from the courtroom Thursday.

Prosecutors claim that Ibragim Orudzhev, 22, a student at Belgorod State University, “conducted reconnaissance of the area ... with the aim of further arson,” and that he had received weapons and explosives training.

Orudhev’s lawyer Tatyana Okushko said the fourth-year student was going to the neighboring veterinary clinic and stopped to check the enlistment office's working hours because he would soon be required to register there, Mediazona reported.

“He didn’t conduct any reconnaissance, but just wanted to find out the operating hours of the military registration and enlistment office,” she said. 

Russia's military recruiting and enlistment offices have been the target of regular arson attacks since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022

The independent media outlet Holod reported that the wartime wave of arson attacks has prompted Russian authorities to begin to treat arson as terrorism, regardless of whether the fires caused any serious damage.

The prosecution’s case is based on an FSB investigation that found Orudhev, inspired by the banned Ukrainian right-wing groups Azov and Right Sector, had planned to set fire to the office with a Molotov cocktail. 

Mediazona reported that the prosecution said he had communicated with Ukrainian groups, studied the “symbols and ideology” of banned organizations, and had instructions for making Molotov cocktails and written plans for committing arson.

Okushko provided the court with receipts from Orudhev’s visit to the vet and asked the authorities to confirm he would be required to register. 

Orudhev, who flashed a peace sign at a Mediazona photographer in the courtroom on Monday, denied that he had undergone terrorist training or planned to break the law.

He faces up to 15 years in prison.

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