Veteran Russian rock star sentenced for criticizing the war on stage

A court in the Russian republic of Bashkortostan on Tuesday fined a veteran rock star for an anti-war speech he gave on stage at a concert earlier this year.

Yury Shevchuk, the legendary frontman of rock band DDT, spoke out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the band’s concert in his hometown of Ufa in May.

“The fatherland, my friends, is not the president’s ass that you have to drool and kiss all the time. The homeland is an impoverished babushka at the station selling potatoes,” Shevchuk told the crowd of 8,000 fans, who also recorded the video of the speech.

Shevchuk, 65, was accused of “discrediting” the Russian armed forces and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 rubles ($815), lawyer Pavel Chikov, the head of human rights group Agora, said in a Telegram article.

The musician was questioned by the police after the concert in May but later released despite fears of possible arrest.

Since Shevchuk did not attend Tuesday’s hearing in person, his attorney Alexander Peredruk delivered his closing statement to the court.

“I, Yury Shevchuk, have always been against wars in any country at any time. I opposed the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, Abkhazia, Georgia, Ossetia, [Nagorno] Karabakh, Iraq and so on,” the musician said in his statement. published by Shikov.

Shevchuk noted that his statements at past concerts as well as the popular DDT song “Don’t Shoot” further reflect his position and that he believes all disputes should be resolved “through diplomatic means.”

“I am also against the eight-year-old war in Donbass and the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine,” Shevchuk added.

Shevchuk is well known in Russia and beyond for his vocal anti-Kremlin stance, Support for the militant anti-Kremlin collective Pussy Riot and opposition the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Russia news

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