A Moscow opposition deputy staged an anti-war picket while on trial for “discrediting” the Russian military, the SOTA news outlet reported Tuesday.
Alexei Gorinov, a member of central Moscow’s Krasnoselsky District Council, was arrested in April on charges of spreading “fake” information and “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces under a law passed in the wake of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. He faces up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
Gorinov, 61, appeared at a court hearing Tuesday holding a handwritten sign that read “I’m against the war.”
According to the authorities, Gorinov discredited the army when he and fellow opposition deputy Elena Kotenochkina spoke out against the Council’s proposal in April to hold a children’s drawing contest and a dancing festival amid the ongoing invasion.
“I believe all efforts of [Russian] civil society should be aimed only at stopping the war and withdrawing Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine,” Gorinov said during the Council meeting that led to his arrest.
“If the points of the proposal were devoted to these issues, then I would happily vote [in favor].”
Prosecutors say Gorinov and Kotenochkina “entered into a criminal plot” motivated by “political hatred” and committed actions that could lead to “consequences endangering the public such as undermining the authority and discrediting the acting government and Russian Armed Forces.”
Gorinov denied the accusations against him on Tuesday, saying that he had not plotted with Kotenochkina but was rather speaking his mind of his own accord.
“I am in my seventh decade and I don’t need to collude with Kotenochkina […] in order to express my opinion and convictions,” the Business FM news outlet quoted Gorinov as saying during the hearing.
“If I find something to be illegal and bad, I say so. Maybe that’s why I always win elections.”
Gorinov also said that he could not have been motivated by hatred as that would contradict his values as a Christian, Business FM reported.