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Anti-war media founder Ilya Krasilshchik handed 8-year prison sentence in absentia over Bucha “fakes” case

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Russian media manager Ilya Krasilshchik, the CEO and founder of anti-war publication Helpdesk Media, has been sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment in absentia on charges of distributing false information about the Russian army for an Instagram post on the murder of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, reported independent news outlet Mediazona.

He was also banned from using the Internet for 4 years. Krasilshchik left Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and is currently residing in Germany.

State prosecutors previously requested that Krasilshchik be sentenced to nine years in prison.

Krasilshchik published his appeal to the court on June 28:

“Dear Court,
Today you find me guilty of creating a real threat to the Russian army. Today, June 28, that is, 4 days have passed since [the Wagner Group’s] armed mutiny: everything ended well for the rebels – the capture of a city, 6 downed helicopters and 1 plane – punished with nothing. An Instagram post and one interview about the real crimes of the Russian army in Bucha is how much? 6 years? 8? 7 as a compromise?
The mutiny was 4 days ago. And yesterday, a Russian Iskander [missile] hit Kramatorsk and killed at least 10 civilians. What is this? Under what laws will it be punished? And by what court?
There is no logic in what is happening, so let's not pretend. Courts decide nothing, laws mean nothing, and I'm not even here [at the hearing].
Since there is no logic and meaning, I ask to replace my punishment with a trip to Belarus, to the village of Liudenivichi in the Homel region. It’s a former shtetl where all my family on my father's side came out. Those who didn't leave were exterminated in 1941 – the whole family, more than 10 people. They were killed by real fascists, not imaginary ones.
People just like you.”

Ilya Krasilshchik is the founder and CEO of anti-war publication Helpdesk Media and former publisher of Latvia-based independent news outlet Meduza.

The criminal case against Krasilshchik (Article 207.3 of Russia’s Criminal Code) was opened following an Instagram post about the murder of civilians by Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, as well as an interview on the YouTube channel Shepelin. The media manager was arrested in absentia, and was previously placed on a wanted list by the Russian authorities.

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