Sentencing of alleged masterminds of unlawful referendum set for August 10
MOSCOW, July 21 (RAPSI, Yevgeniya Sokolova) – The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow will pass a sentence upon four men charged with organizing the activities of an extremist organization on August 10, the court’s representative Svetlana Maximova told RAPSI on Friday.
Earlier, a prosecutor asked the court to sentence RBC journalist Alexander Sokolov, activists Kirill Barabash and Valery Parfyonov to 4 years in prison each, and publicist Yury Mukhin to 4.5 years behind bars.
The defendants are indeed members of the Initiative Group to Campaign for a Referendum for Responsible Government, which, the authorities believe, is the successor of earlier banned People’s Will Army (PWA), Mukhin told RAPSI. However, the action group aiming to organize the referendum was established yet in 2010, he said.
Sokolov, Parfyonov, and Barabash are charged with continuing to run the prohibited in 2010 People’s Will Army, earlier headed by Mukhin. After the PWA was banned, the accused founded the Referendum Initiative Group seeking to make the authorities directly answerable to the people through changing the country’s Constitution.
Nevertheless, the prosecution says that in fact Mukhin and his supporters have attempted to destabilize the political situation in Russia and accomplish a regime change with illegal means.
In 1995, Yury Mukhin, a proponent of radical change, founded the Duel newspaper, which attempted to reach out to Russian conservatives and far left. The newspaper was banned in 2009 on grounds of extremism.