Russian prosecutors ask for 6-year prison term for activist's social media comments

Prosecutors in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg are seeking a six-year prison term for local activist Yarolsav Shirshikov over comments he made on Telegram criticizing the late pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, Russian media reported on Feb. 26.

Shirshikov was arrested in April 2023 on charges of "justifying terrorism" after he called Tatarsky a "scumbag" on Telegram and said that he did not feel "a tinge of sadness" over his death.

Tatarsky, a prominent pro-Kremlin military blogger, was killed in an explosion at a cafe in Saint Petersburg in April 2023. A court in Saint Petersburg sentenced Daria Trepova, a Russian national, to 27 years in prison in January 2024 for allegedly carrying out the explosion.

Trepova was accused of committing a terrorist attack, illegal trafficking in explosive devices, and forgery of documents and was found guilty of all the charges.

Trepova pleaded guilty only to using forged documents and has insisted that she had no intention of harming Tatarsky. She claims to have been set up and convinced that a listening device was hidden in the trophy.

In a reportedly coincidental connection, Shirshikov was among those interviewed by jailed Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen who was arrested on espionage charges in March 2023 and has since been held in pre-trial detention in Russia.

The U.S. government and WSJ strongly deny the charges.

Read also: Russian court sentences Daria Trepova to 27 years over explosion that killed propagandist Tatarsky

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