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Moscow court sentences poets for Anti-Ukraine poems

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A Moscow court sentenced Artyom Kamardin to seven years and Yegor Shtovba to five years and six months in prison for reciting poems against the assault on Ukraine.

The verdict, met with cries of “Shame!” from supporters, marks a grim escalation in Russia’s crackdown on dissent.

The poets, convicted of “inciting hatred” and “calling for activities threatening state security,” join the ranks of thousands detained for protesting the offensive in Ukraine, as any form of criticism becomes effectively outlawed.

Kamardin, 33, alleged a violent detention, claiming officers raped him and coerced him into filming an apology video under threat to his girlfriend.

His recitation of the poem “Kill me, militia man!” on a Moscow square before his arrest targeted the imperial “New Russia” project, advocating the annexation of southern Ukraine.

Both poets professed ignorance of breaking the law, with Kamardin pleading for mercy, stating, “I am not a hero, and going to prison for my beliefs was never in my plans.”

Their conviction raises concerns about the suppression of artistic expression and dissent in Russia.

Post-sentencing, Yury Kamardin, Artyom’s father, expressed outrage, calling it a “total outrage.”

Friends, parents, and wives of the defendants, numbering around two dozen, witnessed the harsh sentencing, with Kamardin’s wife, Alexandra Popova, detained after expressing disbelief at the severity of the punishment.

Popova previously recounted the brutality of Kamardin’s arrest, alleging threats of “gang rape,” physical assault, and degrading treatment. Meanwhile, Shtovba, 23, maintained his innocence, questioning the legality of reading poetry.

This follows a pattern of heavy sentences for those opposing the offensive, including artist Alexandra Skochilenko, sentenced to seven years for swapping price tags with anti-war slogans.

The trials, widely criticized as absurd, highlight the broader crackdown on dissent in Russia, where even ordinary citizens face severe consequences for expressing their views.

With most high-profile opposition figures either fleeing the country or behind bars, Russia’s courts continue to wield their power against those daring to speak out.

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