On Saturday, December 9, the Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg arrested local resident Yuri Malev, a U.S. dual national from Brooklyn, New York for disrespecting the St. George Ribbon on his social media account. He is accused of rehabilitating Nazism. He is to be held in pre-trial confinement until at least February 7th, 2024.
The pictures in question were posted in June 2022, on his Odnoklassniki page in which he captioned “an identification mark of a person with non-traditional sexual orientation” under an image of the St. George Ribbon.
In the spring of 2023, Malev posted a photo of his body with instructions on “how to properly wear the St. George’s Ribbon”, apparently in a disrespectful manner. He was reported to St. Petersburg authorities by an 86-year-old pensioner, so says Russian state-owned media.
The official announcement from the court reads below:
“The Smolninsky District Court of St. Petersburg considered the investigation’s request to select a preventive measure in the form of detention against Russian and US citizen Yuri Malev, accused of committing a crime under Part 4 of Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
06/08/2022 Malev, through the social network Odnoklassniki, knowing for certain that the St. George Ribbon is a symbol of military valor and glory, posted on his account a photo image of the St. George Ribbon with a caption on the image – an identification mark of a person with a non-traditional sexual orientation, using it to identify this person coarse obscene language.
After which, directly before the celebration of Victory Day, namely 05/08/2023, through the above-mentioned profile on the social network “Odnoklassniki” administered by him, he posted a photograph of a corpse with instructions “how to properly wear the St. George’s ribbon”, thereby expressing clear disrespect for society and the days of military glory and memorable dates in Russia related to the defense of the Fatherland, which is an insult to the memory of the Great Patriotic War, as well as the defenders of the Fatherland and their feelings, a humiliation of the honor and dignity of WWII veterans, including K., born in 1937.
12/08/2023 Malev was detained in accordance with Article 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation and on the same day he was charged. Partially admitted guilt.
Malev and the defense attorney objected, pointing out that taking into account the personality of the accused, his state of health, the confessional position in the criminal case, the positive characterization from a relative interrogated at the court hearing regarding the identity of the accused, taking into account the documents presented by the defense lawyer, it is possible for Malev to choose a preventive measure in the form recognizance not to leave, house arrest, prohibition of certain actions.
The court granted the investigation’s request, electing Malev into custody until 02/07/2024.“
Malev joins a slew of Americans in custody in the Russian Federation since relations hit an all-time low after the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
The ribbon of Saint George (also known as Saint George’s ribbon, the Georgian ribbon) is a Russian military symbol consisting of a black and orange bicolor pattern, with three black and two orange stripes. It appears as a component of many high military decorations awarded by the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the current Russian Federation. Since the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the symbol has become more controversial since it represents the Russian military (Russian troops donned the ribbon on combat uniforms during the invasion.)