Grey haired, lean Alexei Gorinov, aged 60, will serve seven years in prison for voicing his opposition to Putin’s war against Ukraine, a Russian court has ruled.

The former Moscow City Council member was arrested in April for having objected to living “life as usual” in Russia while people were dying in Ukraine. Specifically, Gorinov had become upset that his fellow City Council Members were happy to continue organizing drawing contests for Moscow children, rather than talking about grave consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Before starting a city council meeting, as a show of defiance, the man had sought to start  the meeting with a moment of silence so that the attendees could reflect on the war.

A fellow City Council Member who had expressed sympathy for the sentiments that Gorinov expressed about the war, fled the country following the announcement that he would be charged, like Gorinov, for having “disparaged the Russian military” through his actions.

The sentence of Gorinov has gained international press attention and is thought to be the first time that someone has received jail time, rather than fines, under a new law that Putin pushed through, after the launch of the invasion, to more vigorously suppress those who speak-out against the illegal war.

Kremlin-watchers have stated that the sentence of Gorinov, like others who have been punished for voicing their opposition to the policies of Putin, is a sign that Moscow wishes to crush dissent before it reaches large audiences by causing a “chilling effect” that causes dissenters to keep quiet to avoid landing in prison.

Gorinov, who specifically mentioned the atrocities of Hostomel, Irpin, and Bucha while addressing the Moscow court, is the latest of a string of Russian opposition leaders who have faced increased hostility and harassment from Kremlin authorities.

Ilya Yashin, a nationally well-known pro-democracy Russian activist and friend of Gorinov, has expressed his great sadness at the ruling. Yashin himself was in the dock earlier this week for having resisted arrest and the court handed him a sentence of 15 days in jail.

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