Aug 25, 2022 - World

Russian opposition figure detained after criticizing war on Ukraine

Russian opposition figure and former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman attends an interview with AFP at his charity fund in the main Urals city of Yekaterinburg on July 15.

Russian opposition figure and former mayor of Yekaterinburg Yevgeny Roizman during an interview in Yekaterinburg in July. Photo: Alexei Vladykin/AFP via Getty Images

Russian opposition figure Yevgeny Roizman said he was detained by security forces in Russia's fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, on Wednesday for comments he made about Putin's war on Ukraine.

Driving the news: Roizman, who served as mayor of Yekaterinburg from 2013-2018, was charged with "public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation," according to a post on his Telegram account.

  • The Kremlin critic told reporters he was arrested for criticizing the Russian Army after "basically saying one phrase" on several occasions — "the invasion of Ukraine," according to a video translated by Reuters.
  • Russian state media reported authorities were investigating the staunch supporter of imprisoned political leader Alexei Navalny for "discrediting the Russian army."

The big picture: Soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Kremlin cracked down on free speech while increasing suppression efforts in order to control how Russians perceive the war.

What we're watching: Russian courts have fined Roizman three times this year after he was hit with similar charges to the one he faces now, clearing the way for a potential criminal case for repeat offenders, AP notes.

  • Roizman faces up to three years in prison if he's convicted.
Go deeper