Russian citizen Elena Kolbasnikova, who organized rallies in Germany in support of Russia, will stand trial in Cologne on charges of pro-war propaganda. According to a report by Deutsche Welle citing a court spokeswoman, the woman is being charged with supporting the military aggression against Ukraine during a pro-Russian demonstration in May 2022.
Kolbasnikova’s trial will begin on March 29. The woman faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. As noted by Deutsche Welle, it is more likely that the court will impose a fine.
On 8 May 2022, Kolbasnikova, along with former member of the anti-migrant ProNRW party Markus Beisicht, gave a speech to participants in a motor rally in Cologne marking the anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany. According to the prosecutor's report, Kolbasnikova said that “Russia is not the aggressor. Russia is now helping to end the war in Ukraine.”
Kolbasnikova calls herself a victim of “the struggle for peace and truth.” In September, she also organised a demonstration in Cologne “against war and arms supplies to Ukraine.” German law enforcement is currently conducting a separate investigation into the woman as she reposted a call for recruitment to the Wagner PMC on social media.
A native of the Ukrainian city of Dnipro, Kolbasnikova, together with her common-law husband Maxim Shlund, is involved in organising pro-Russian rallies in Germany and cooperates with local right-wing activists.