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Moscow ‘Jails’ Popular Ukrainian TV Host and Blogger in Absentia

Dmitry Neymyrok / Flickr

A Russian military court on Monday convicted a popular Ukrainian YouTube blogger and journalist in absentia for making public calls to kill President Vladimir Putin.

A Moscow military court sentenced Dmitry Gordon to 14 years imprisonment, the TASS news agency reported.

Russia has been convicting its opponents in absentia as part of a crackdown since the start of the Ukraine offensive.

Gordon, 56, is a household name in Ukraine with millions of followers on social media.

A poll in August 2023 placed him seventh among Ukrainians' most viewed "experts" commenting on YouTube.

Starting as a newspaper journalist, he founded a Russian-language weekly newspaper called "Gordon's Boulevard" and hosted a television show called "Gordon's Guests," also in Russian.

He then launched an online news site called Gordon and two YouTube channels.

Gordon would often appear as a commentator on Russian television talk shows, saying on Olga Skabeyeva's 60 Minutes show in 2019 that "I would call Putin one word: a criminal."

He was critical of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky up to Russia's offensive.

In 2022, Russia declared him a "foreign agent," while he countered that he is not a Russian citizen.

He commented on Instagram of Russia's verdict against him: "This is how they grow savage near the end, which will be soon and inevitable."

The court decision Monday cited YouTube videos posted by Gordon in 2022, TASS wrote.

It said one contained a "call to eliminate" Putin.

The court said Gordon felt "hatred towards the current Russian president" and viewed Russia's offensive in Ukraine "extremely negatively."

It added he called for civil war and to kill Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and urged U.S. President Joe Biden to launch a nuclear strike on Russia.

The court found Gordon guilty of calls for terrorist activity, publicly distributing false information about the Russian military and inciting hatred.

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