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A US-Russian citizen is convicted in Russia after posts on social media

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A dual U.S.-Russian citizen was convicted for “rehabilitating Nazism” by a St. Petersburg court Wednesday over posts on social media.

Yuri Malev was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in a minimum-security penal colony, a penitentiary facility. Malev was arrested in December after sharing images on Russian social media site Odnoklassniki featuring the black-and-orange Saint George’s ribbon — a symbol of Russian military pride.

Court documents said one post showed the ribbon pinned to a corpse alongside the caption of “how to wear the Saint George’s ribbon properly.” The documents described the posts as “humiliating the honor and dignity of World War II veterans.”

The St. Petersburg City Court sentenced Malev after he “admitted his guilt,” the court’s press service said in a statement. It said court documents described Malev as a security guard at the Match Point sports complex in Brooklyn.

The Kremlin has cracked down on all forms of dissent since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Laws prohibiting the spread of “false information” or disparaging the military have been used to target anyone critical of the conflict with fines and prison sentences.

Charges of “rehabilitating Nazism” — an offense punishable by up to five years in prison — have been leveled at those seen by authorities as sharing opposition views. Russian officials have used the false claim to portray their enemies in Ukraine as “neo-Nazis,” even though that country has a Jewish president who lost relatives in the Holocaust and leads a Western-backed, democratically elected government.

Analysts have said Moscow may be using jailed Americans as bargaining chips after U.S.-Russian tensions soared over the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine.

Recent high-profile arrests include Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested on espionage charges in March 2023, and U.S.-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva, who was taken into custody in October 2023 for failing to register as a “foreign agent.”

The Associated Press

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