Russian artist who swapped grocery store price tags with anti-war slogans could be jailed for 10 years, charity says

·2 min read
Photo of a grocery store in Russia.
Photo of a grocery store in Russia.Rakoon/WikiMedia Commons
  • Alexandra Skochilenko is accused of replacing grocery store price tags with anti-war slogans.

  • She faces up to 10 years in jail for spreading "fake news" about Russian aggression in Ukraine, per Amnesty international.

  • Skochilenko will remain in pre-trial detention until June, the charity said.

A Russian court has ordered an artist to be held in prison over allegations she replaced grocery store price tags with anti-war slogans, The Guardian reported.

Alexandra Skochilenko faces up to 10 years in jail for her alleged actions, which were in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the human rights charity Amnesty International.

She was detained on April 11, Amnesty International said, and a St Petersburg court confined her to pre-trial detention until June.

Skochilenko was charged under new laws banning "fake news," per The Guardian. The legislation criminalizes Russians who disseminate "false information" about Russia's military institutions, Politico reported.

The laws also ensure that Russians describe the deadly invasion of Ukraine as a so-called "special military operation."

Investigators have accused Skochilenko of being motivated by "political hatred for Russia," The Guardian said, which could mean 10 years in jail and a fine of 3m Russia Rubles ($36,000) if she is found guilty.

She is accused of "putting fragments of paper in place of price tags, containing knowingly false information about the use of the Russian armed forces" in a Perekryostok supermarket on March 31, per The Guardian.

According to NPR, Skochilenko reportedly replaced a price tag with a sign that provided information about the Mariupol art school bombing on March 20, 2022.

Ukrainian authorities said Russian troops had bombed the school, being used by hundreds of civilians as a shelter. Russia confirmed there was a "humanitarian catastrophe" there but blamed "Ukrainian nationalists" for it.

According to her lawyer, Skochilenko was reported to police by a supermarket customer.

Several other artists have been fined or detained for switching price tags to anti-war signs in stores, NPR reported.

A 59-year-old doctor was detained for a similar form of protest, per The Guardian.

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