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Supporter Of Outlawed Nationalist Group In Russia Gets Lengthy Prison Term


Sergei Ryzhov
Sergei Ryzhov

SARATOV, Russia -- A Russian court has sentenced a member of an outlawed nationalist opposition group from the city of Saratov to six years in prison after finding him guilty of plotting a terrorist act and the illegal possession of explosives in a case linked to rallies ahead of the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

The Central District Military Court in Samara, sentenced Sergei Ryzhov on October 19, falling short of the prosecutor's call for 10 1/2 years in prison

Ryzhov, a supporter of the Artpodgotovka (Artillery Bombardment) movement, reiterated his innocence during the trial, insisting that explosives found on his property and used as evidence against him were planted there by police.

Hundreds of members of the movement were detained on November 5, 2017, at demonstrations in Moscow and other Russian cities ahead of the 100th anniversary of the revolution.

Vyacheslav Maltsev, an outspoken Kremlin critic and leader of the group, said at the time that the day would mark the start of a "new revolution" to topple President Vladimir Putin's government.

Maltsev, who has described himself as a nationalist and an anarchist, told RFE/RL in November 2018 that he had received political asylum in France.

In May 2017, Maltsev was charged in absentia with publicly calling for extremist activities. Artpodgotovka was banned in October 2017 by court order.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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