Russian Minor and Teenage Youths Sentenced to Years in Prison Over Anti-War Comments Online

Echo Moscow, citing a release from the investigative Russian media outlet Proekt, has reported that for the first time a minor in Russia, a 17-year-old girl from Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai, named Lyubov Lizunova, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for alleged anti-war comments she made when she was 16 years old, in which she called for arson and sabotage of military registration and enlistment offices in online Telegram channels she and her friends administered with around two hundred people across two channels, according to Russian authorities.

She was originally charged with graffitiing “Death to the Regime” on an old garage along with two others in 2022, but the vandalism charge was dropped due to the statue of limitations. Lyubov said what caught the attention of security officers while searching her phone after she was caught graffitiing was one post of hers saying, “You probably already know about the arson of military registration and enlistment offices and administrations… I won’t cover this topic for a long time, I’ll just note that I have an extremely positive attitude towards direct actions if they do not cause CIVIL casualties.”


Lyubov Lizunova and a photo of her badges that were seized by the FSB.

Also involved in the case were 19-year-old Alexander Snezhkov, who received six years in prison, and 20-year-old Vladislav Vishnevsky, (18 and 19 at the time of arrest in October 2022) who received one and a half years of forced labor and was sentenced to the same charges of “terrorist activities, separatism, and vandalism.” In this case, both a minor and a schoolgirl were charged for the first time with a real prison sentence for anti-war speech in Russia. Two schoolgirls in the past were sentenced for anti-war actions, but not to such a degree of severity.

According to OVD-Info, 12 additional minors have been brought up on charges of anti-war actions in Russia before reaching adulthood. Only three have been sentenced: 17-year-old Yegor Balazeikin was sentenced to six years in an educational colony, 18-year-old German Kuzovkin was sentenced to 5 years in prison, and the last, unnamed, received a year of restriction of freedom. To date, since the beginning of the war, 905 people have been persecuted and 263 jailed over anti-war criminal charges in Russia.

The three youth in this case were reportedly political anarchists, with Alexander and Lyubov specifically supporting anti-fascist movements in Russia and protesting the current government and leaders, as well as attending anti-regime demonstrations. The trio’s role in administering Telegram channels with anti-war messages seems to be the primary reason for their charges.

Alexander Snezhkov and Lyubov Lizunova