Russia jails two for pro-Ukrainian graffiti
A Russian court on Wednesday sentenced two young men to prison sentences for painting Soviet statues in the colours of the Ukrainian flag and daubing pro-Kiev graffiti.
The pair -- Kirill Korzhavin and Vladislav Shipovalov -- were among four men found guilty of smearing a statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in the Siberian city Novosibirsk with Ukraine's national blue and yellow colours and writing the sign "Glory to Ukraine" on it.
Novosibirsk's Leninsky District Court said in a statement that the men also vandalised the local offices of the pro-Kremlin United Russia and Communist parties, along with a World War II monument, which consists of a Soviet Katyusha rocket launcher, a tank and a plaque with names of local soldiers who perished.
The two monuments were found painted on December 12, 2014. Vandals had also written "Azov," the name of a far-right volunteer battalion fighting on the side of Kiev in eastern Ukraine, and spray painted Azov's symbol, the Wolfsangel, which had been used by several Nazi SS divisions.
The men had been charged with vandalism and desecration of an anti-fascist monument. Korzhavin was sentenced to serve 2.5 years in a penal colony and Shipovalov to two years.
Two other defendants, Sergei Belov and Ivan Kollektsionerov, who was a minor at the time of the alleged crime, were not given jail sentences but instead subjected to tight restrictions on their movements.
Last week a court in Moscow convicted and jailed a 20-year-old man for another painting stunt after a star on top of a Soviet-era skyscraper was covered in Ukrainian colours.
© 2015 AFP