Russian artist Alexandra Skochilenko was sentenced to seven years in prison Thursday for swapping supermarket price tags with messages critical of the war in Ukraine.
Skochilenko, 33, was found guilty of deliberately spreading false information about Russia's military and is banned from using the internet for the next three years in addition to the jail term.
Vladimir Putin has always been an anti-freedom dictator, but he has dialed the notch to 11 since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Over the last 20 months, the Russian autocrat has criminalized any form of dissent and is targeting artists like Alexandra Skochilenko, who simply want to promote peace. Russia’s fascism continues to show its ugly teeth, and something must be done to restore basic human rights.
It's ironic to hear the West condemn alleged violations of free speech when dissidents are silenced every day in their so-called democratic countries. Intelligence agencies spy on dissidents and coordinate with social media companies to silence people who dare to question the established narrative. The reality of this case is Skochilenko faced a fair trial and was found guilty of breaking the law, which should always incur ramifications.