Crimean convicted of ‘desecrating symbol of Russia’s military glory’ for protesting war against Ukraine
A Russian-controlled ‘court’ in occupied Crimea a 2-year suspended sentence against 23-year-old Oleksandr Tiurenko for urinating over an installation glorifying Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. That the young Ukrainian had, in this way, been protesting against the war was acknowledged in the charges and reflected in the entirely disproportionate sentence.
The criminal prosecution was over video footage posted on 25 August 2023 by Alexander Talipov. The latter is a collaborator notorious for hunting down Crimeans who protest against the war or demonstrate a pro-Ukrainian position. Clearly working in close cooperation with Russian enforcement bodies, Talipov tortures, or otherwise forces his victims to ‘repent’ on videos posted on his ‘Crimean SMERSH’ Telegram channel. The video footage showed a young man, identified later as Tiurenko, going up to the installation in Bakhchysarai with the letters ‘Z’ and ‘V’. These letters (which are not used in the Cyrillic alphabet) have become associated with Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow euphemistically refers to as its ‘special military operation’. As he begins to urinate, the man can be heard saying ‘there is such a monument here, total bollocks”.
Tiurenko appears to have been detained the following day and was videoed ‘apologising’ for his action. On the video, almost certainly made under duress, the young man says that he did it in a state of alcoholic intoxication and that he was wrong. He was even forced to use the Russian euphemism, and claim support, both for the ‘special military operation’, and for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Public ‘repentance’ was not enough and Tiurenko was remanded in custody. He remained in detention until November when he was released under various restrictions. All earlier reports mentioned only that he had been charged with ‘vandalism motivated by political enmity’ (Article 214 § 2 of Russia’s criminal code). By the time the case reached the occupation ‘Crimean high court’, a second charge had been laid, namely ‘desecration of symbols of Russia’s military glory’ with the use of the Internet (Article 354.1 § 4). The Russian-controlled Crimean media the ’court’ as saying that Tiurenko, b. 2000, had been convicted of “desecrating a structure dedicated to heroes of SVO [i.e. the so-called ‘special military operation’] with the uploading on social media of a video confirming his actions motivated by political and ideological enmity in connection with the carrying out of the SVO on the territory of Ukraine.”
Tiurenko could have faced a sentence of up to 3 years, or even 5 years (under Article 354), and it remains to be seen whether the Russian prosecutor challenges the 2-year suspended sentence with a 2-year probationary period. This was handed down on 29 January by ‘judge’ , a Ukrainian turncoat facing treason charges in Ukraine. Tiurenko was also prohibited from posting material on the Internet for the next three years
Oleksandr Tiurenko is one of very many Ukrainians in occupied Crimea who have been prosecuted, imprisoned and otherwise persecuted for their opposition to Russia’s war against Ukraine and / or their pro-Ukrainian position. Several people have confronted with charges which bear little or no relation to their act of protest. Bohdan Ziza, for example, a street artist from occupied Feodosia, was sentenced to 15 years on absurd ‘terrorism’ charges after a protest against the war where, in the very early hours of 15 May 2022, Ziza daubed the entrance to the occupation administration body in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, and attempted to throw a petrol bomb into the building.