VDD calls to prosecute a pro-Kremlin activist for glorifying crimes committed by Russia

On 13 October 2022 Latvian State Security Service (VDD) called for the Prosecutor’s Office to initiate criminal prosecution against a pro-Kremlin activist for systematically acquitting and glorifying the crimes of Russia’s aggressive war in Ukraine, as well as efforts to trigger national hatred and enmity among Latvian population of different nationalities.

The criminal proceedings were initiated by VDD on 7 June 2022 pursuant to Section 741 of the Criminal Law, for acquittal and glorification of crimes against peace and war crimes. Following Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, VDD established that the person was purposefully and systematically disseminating to an unlimited number of people on freely accessible online platforms narratives favoring the Kremlin’s interests, acquitting Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its population.  

During the investigation VDD established that the person's activities on the Internet have also been aimed at triggering hatred and enmity among the population groups of different nationalities, namely Latvians, Russians and Ukrainians. In the assessment of VDD, the person's intention was, in accordance with the interests of Russia's foreign policy, to prevent the peaceful coexistence of the aforementioned population groups and the unification of the Latvian society. Taking into account the above-mentioned, it was decided to recognize the person as a suspect also for committing the criminal offense pursuant to Section 78 of the Criminal Law, i.e. for activities aimed at triggering national hatred or enmity.

Within the investigation, VDD established several dozens of publications of this person, the content of which contains elements of the mentioned criminal offences. The person has created both written publications and video materials, the content of which is directed against Latvia's national security interests. The mentioned content was published both on social networking platforms and on websites funded by Russia.

In the course of the investigation, it was established that the person received financial compensation for the creation of content corresponding to the interests of the Kremlin.

VDD recalls that no person is considered guilty until their guilt is proven in accordance to the law.

Since the beginning of Russia’s armed forces invasion into Ukraine, VDD has initiated 26 criminal proceedings in relation to activities in support of Russian aggression and interests, while four proceedings were taken over from the State Police. Criminal proceedings have been initiated on the basis of suspicion for various criminal offences: public glorifying and acquittal of Russia’s war crimes (Section 741 of Criminal Law), activities aimed at triggering national hatred or enmity against Latvians and Ukrainians (Section 78 of Criminal Law), providing support in collecting financial resources and other goods for Russian soldiers involved in warfare in Ukraine (Section 77 of Criminal Law), action directed against Latvia (Section 80 of Criminal Law) and assistance to a foreign State in action directed against Latvia (Section 811 of Criminal Law).

In seven of these criminal proceedings VDD has concluded the pre-trial investigation and referred the materials of the criminal proceedings to the Prosecutor's Office to initiate criminal prosecution against the suspects. Within the other criminal proceedings the pre-trial investigation continues, so far 15 persons have been recognized as suspects, while seven others as persons against whom criminal proceedings have been enacted.

Information prepared by VDD
Illustrative photo by Pixabay