Pro-Russian blogger who hid in Ukrainian monastery to stand trial in Kyiv

1 April, 12:09 PM
Дмитро Скворцов (Photo:Кадр із відео каналу Перший Козацький/YouTube)

Дмитро Скворцов (Photo:Кадр із відео каналу Перший Козацький/YouTube)

Pro-Russian blogger Dmitry Skvortsov has been charged with state treason for carrying out subversive information activities against Ukraine, Kyiv City Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement posted on its website on March 31.

Skvortsov was arrested by officers from Ukraine’s SBU security service on Feb. 22 after it was discovered that he had been hiding out in Kyiv’s Pecherska Lavra church and monastery complex near the center of the Ukrainian capital.

Kyiv City Prosecutor’s Office says the blogger has been charged in accordance with Part 1 of Article 111 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. The charges against him have now been submitted to court, and if convicted, he faces 12 to 15 years in prison.

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Prosecutors said the blogger had engaged in subversive activities since before Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine began, denying the existence of Ukraine as a state and the Ukrainian people as a full-fledged independent ethnic group.

“To fulfill the tasks of (his) Russian curators, the (suspect) prepared and sent articles for publication in which he expressed pro-Russian views,” the statement on the prosecutors’ website reads.

“These publications were posted on Russian websites, were actively spread by propagandists on the Internet and social networks, and were available to an unlimited number of users.”

Prosecutors said that in these articles, Skvortsov promoted and glorified Russia and its (self-proclaimed) president (Vladimir Putin, a war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court), emphasizing Russia’s “high mission” in the world and its “sacrifice.”

At the same time, he spoke negatively and with prejudice about politicians of Ukraine, and its language and culture, prosecutors said.

“The findings of the (pre-trial investigation) confirm that the specified (materials) contained information aimed at inciting national, inter-ethnic, social enmity and hatred, creating discord between the army and the people, negatively influencing public opinion, contributing to the spread of Russian propaganda in Ukraine and threatening national security in the information sphere, which is a component of subversive activity.”

The blogger was informed of the suspicion against him in absentia in August 2022, but evaded justice and was put on Ukraine’s wanted list. In February 2023, the SBU learned that he was located within the territory of the Holy Annunciation Monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in Kyiv.

Photo: SBU

The Lavra, which is a Ukrainian cultural heritage and UNESCO World Heritage site, had been under the control of the Russian-led Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate until March 29, after which its lease from the state was cancelled.

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