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A pensioner fined for discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation

06.04.2023 @ 14:35 – 15:35 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
A pensioner fined for discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation

About the case: Tatiana Popova is charged with violating the article on discrediting the armed forces (Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code). According to the police version, on April 6, 2022, Popova hung children’s toys in the “Lenta” store with attached notes bearing anti-military messages written in marker. The result of the hearing was a fine of 30,000 rubles.

The case is being heard by the Nevsky District Court, presided over by Judge Svetlana Sergeevna Petiy.


In the hallway, Popova asked who I was. The secretary approached me several times with one question.

– A member of the public for what purpose? – the secretary clarified.

– What do you mean? I came to the open hearing as a member of the public.

– Okay, but for what purpose?

– I’m interested in the hearing.

Initially, the court employee was satisfied when I showed my passport, but later the young lady returned and demanded that I hand over my document:

– The judge needs your passport! – insisted the secretary.

The judge starts the hearing 15 minutes after the appointed time.

Popova’s defender requested to attach a certificate stating that the defendant had no psychological contraindications for driving a vehicle.

– Do you think the court might have doubts? – the presiding judge asked. – We don’t impose driving restrictions under this article.

– Just additional information about my client’s personality, – the woman replied.

– According to the protocol of the administrative offense, on April 6, 2022, around 12:40, while in the “Lenta” store, Popova hung children’s toys shaped like figures with yellow notes attached to them. These notes had anti-military inscriptions written in red marker. – the judge Petiy stated the case’s background. – The employees of “Lenta” witnessed this action, reported it to the police, which then arrived and brought Tatiana Vladimirovna to the 70th police station.

 – I admit that I committed this act; it was an emotional outburst in response to what was happening around me. I absolutely did not mean our armed forces. I am a sensitive person… I am very emotionally distressed right now, I don’t understand what’s happening. The son of our acquaintances, who worked as an art teacher in Sevastopol, died. I can say that my two grandfathers participated in the Great Patriotic War [note: it’s Russian’s name for the Eastern front], and I know many military personnel who are wonderful, conscientious, responsible people. In other words, I have friends who are also in the military, who helps… So, I ask you to consider that my writings are in no way related to our armed forces. In other words, I just feel sorry when people die, on both sides… Well, in general. There was a second inscription, “Don’t Shoot!” and there was a red heart. So, this can be related to anyone. This can even be related to criminals who walk our streets and sometimes commit crimes. This can be related to criminals anywhere on the planet. I’m just calling on everyone to some kind of humanism.

The defender continued Popova’s arguments. She pointed out that Popova, like anyone with relatives in Crimea or Ukraine, is in a suppressed emotional state, and none of the inscriptions can be directly attributed to the armed forces of Russia more than to the armed forces of any other country.

The witness Ivan Tulsky, a senior police sergeant, is invited for a deposition. He had drawn up the report at the 70th police station. The witness had been in the courtroom from the very beginning.

“The alarm signal was received at 12:40,” the police officer explained. “We arrived at the address at 12:50, and by 12:55, we had stopped citizen Popova at the exit and brought her to the station by 14:05.”

The defender asked a series of clarifying questions, particularly about the time gap between the apprehension and bringing her to the police station. Subsequently, the witness was released.

Popova’s defender requested the judge to use Article 4.1, Part 2.2 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation, which allows for a fine lower than the bare minimum, as Popova is a pensioner, and her pension is her only source of income.

“I understand the positions expressed by the parties, of course,” Judge Petiy responded. “Yes, one can interpret it this way and that way… And the position about people dying, that’s understandable too, but if you had come from another planet and didn’t know anything about what’s happening here, you might perceive it as you say. But considering that we all know what’s happening now, what article is being charged against Tatiana Vladimirovna, and what she meant when she hung those toys – it’s all clear. Therefore, I believe that the elements of an actionable offense are present, and Tatiana Vladimirovna committed this offense. Taking into account mitigating circumstances in the form of admitting guilt, I consider it possible to impose the minimum fine. The fine starts at 30,000 rubles. I do not see the need to go below the minimum for the purposes of prevention. Again, I understand everything from a human perspective, but from the perspective of the current situation, I believe that such actions are unacceptable.”

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