In Moscow on Friday, retired police major Oleg Kashinzev was sentenced to eight years in prison. The district court found him guilty of spreading false information about the Russian armed forces. This was announced by his lawyer to the "Network Freedoms" project. "The trial took place in the absence of the accused. Kashintsev is currently outside Russia. At the beginning of July he was put on the wanted list, the Russian news agency Tass reported. Interpol recognized the persecution of the former official as politically motivated and refuses to cooperate with the Russian authorities to cooperate.
It is the first time that a defendant has been convicted in absentia under the newly added paragraph on fakes about the Russian military. According to the court decision, in the spring of 2022, Kashintsev published several posts on Telegram and Instagram, in which he called the war in Ukraine a war and reported that the Russian military was killing, torturing and raping Ukrainian civilians and also engaged in looting. In addition, Kashintsev wrote that Russia intends to conquer Ukrainian territories. The court ruled that the information was misinformation, despite the fact that Vladimir Putin declared four Ukrainian regions Russian by decree.
The court also banned Kashintsev from appearing on social networks and working for law enforcement agencies for a period of four years. He was stripped of the rank of police major.
Kashintsev worked for 18 years in the police force in the city of Rybinsk, around 300 kilometers north of Moscow. 14 of his 18 years of service he worked in the criminal police. In 2019, amid protests for allowing independent politicians to vote in Moscow City Duma elections, he resigned. In December 2021, the 40-year-old stood in front of the walls of the Kremlin with a poster. "Free Navalny. Putin is a murderer," was his message.
At that time, two protocols were drawn up against Kashintsev: for violating the rules for attending a public event and for illegally wearing a police uniform. The retired policeman had appeared in a uniform on Red Square.
The article on misinformation about the Russian army was added to the Russian Criminal Code shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian authorities consider all information about the war in Ukraine that differs from the version of the Russian Ministry of Defense to be misinformation. Violations can result in up to 15 years imprisonment.
According to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, 187 procedures have already been initiated under the paragraph . The Kremlin critic and opposition politician Ilya Yashin was also sentenced to eight and a half years in prison last December for allegedly disparaging the Russian armed forces. So far, it is the highest penalty for this criminal offence.