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Russian Journalist Fined For 'Anti-Soviet' Web Article

Journalist Aleksandr Podrabinek at a press conference in Moscow

Journalist Aleksandr Podrabinek at a press conference in Moscow

A Moscow court has partly met the plaintiff’s demands in a defamation suit against Russian journalist and human rights activist Aleksandr Podrabinek, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The court ruled that Podrabinek must pay 1,000 rubles ($33) to the plaintiff, World War II veteran Viktor Semyonov, and retract the following phrase used in an online article: "Your homeland is not Russia but the Soviet Union. Your country, thank God, has not existed for already 18 years."

The prosecutor had sought for Podrabinek to be fined 500,000 rubles (about $16,500).

Podrabinek used the controversial phrase in a September article about a Moscow restaurant that changed its name from "Anti-Soviet" under pressure from local officials. His article on the website recalled the Soviet prison camps and Stalinist-era crimes, and accused current Russian authorities of trying to burnish the image of the Soviet Union.

Following the article's publication, the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi held a continuous picket at Podrabinek's house, accusing him of insulting Soviet veterans.

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