Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
A Russian court has sentenced a woman to two years behind bars for smearing the grave of a Russian soldier who died in Ukraine with blood and faeces.
The Court of Sudak in occupied Crimea handed down the tough sentence to Valeria Goldenberg Mikhailovna of the village of Solnechnaya Dolina.
The court found the 60-year-old guilty of having desecrated the burial place of a serviceman who died during the “special military operation” in Ukraine, on 7th April.
The court also ordered her to pay a fine of RUB 500,000 (GBP 6,800) to the victim’s relatives after they claimed compensation for moral damages at twice the amount.
The court qualified her act as ‘desecration of burial sites motivated by political hatred’. The cemetery at which she desecrated the grave is located in her village.
The court ordered psychiatric experts to examine the woman’s mental health, with the experts finding she was of sound mind both during the trial and the act itself.
The court said it took into account the defendant’s age, financial situation and prior lack of criminal record into account when determining the sentence.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Crimea had reported before the sentencing that the defendant faced up to five years in prison if found guilty.
The ministry said that her arrest took place after the victim’s mother discovered that her son’s grave had been desecrated and filed a report with the police.
Following the arrest, the ministry confirmed that the woman admitted to officers to having committed the unlawful act, and she was remanded in pre-trial custody.
The dead soldier whose grave she targeted was named as Valentin Isaychev, who was born in 2001 and died in combat at the age of 21.
He served in the 810th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade.
Local media reported that Mikhailovna – now retired – was born in Poltava, Ukraine, and had been living in Crimea for the past 17 years.
She was wholly against the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on 24th February and had opposed the annexation of Crimea to Russia years earlier, in 2014.
She has family all over Ukraine and was worried for their safety, and she is believed to have committed the act in revenge for the death of a classmate and his family.
Before she was sentenced, she said she committed the act “out of a sense of revenge and compassion for the people of Ukraine”.
The blood she poured over the grave – which also tainted a portrait of the deceased and the wreaths laid for him – was allegedly from a chicken liver.