Никита Тушканов. Фото: личный архив
On May 11, Nikita Tushkanov, a 29-year-old history teacher from Komi Republic, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison. He was accused of justifying terrorism and discrediting the Russian army over several comments on social media. Among other things, he called the 8 October 2022 explosion on the Kerch bridge, which connects Russia to occupied Crimea, “a little gift for Putler.” The court carried out the sentence single day. Here is what Tushkanov said in his final statement.
I think the sentence was carried out in advance. So as far as I am concerned, my final statement cannot have any effect on the decisions you make.
I didn’t change my position toward the “incident” or, I don’t know, the “events that took place in Ukraine”—it remains the same. I condemn war. I think it is a crime. Just like any aggression.
And even the Criminal Code has an article about justified self-defense. Which is exactly what the other side [the Ukrainian army] applies.
In the beginning of the trial I asked for a removal [of the judge], you, of course, didn’t approve it. In this connection, I would like to say...
I don’t want to ask for justice, I can’t ask for mercy.
Tushkanov is a long-time supporter of Russian oppositional politician Alexei Navalny. In late January 2021, after Navalny returned to Russia from Germany, where he recovered from an assassination attempt, and was arrested, the teacher picketed in the center of the city of Mikun, where he lives, with a poster “Keep quiet or die.” He then received a visit from the police, and two days later was fired from the Mikun city school where he taught history.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Tushkanov actively spoke out against it on social media and was fined two times for “discrediting” the Russian army. In one post, he wrote: “My country was so actively fighting fascism that turned fascist itself.” The other post started with the words: “Putin annexed the occupied territories.”
In early December 2022, a police special force unit broke into Nikita Tushkanov’s apartment, he was detained and later put under arrest for a post which he wrote on October 8, a day after Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, when the Kerch bridge was attacked. Under several videos of the explosion, Tushkanov wrote: “Here’s a little birthday gift for Putler. Grandpa just turned 70. The last jubilee of the last dickhead.”
On May 11, the 2nd West district military court sentenced him to 5.5 years in a penal colony.
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