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Businessman behind conservative Orthodox Christian media group claims credit for initiating felony case against popular former Yekaterinburg mayor

Source: Meduza

Konstantin Malofeev, the devout Russian Orthodox Christian businessman behind the Tsargrad media group, says his pro-monarchism organization is chiefly responsible for the felony case against former Yekaterinburg Mayor Evgeny Roizman. “There’s no doubt that [Roizman’s] arrest is largely connected to an initiative by the Tsargrad Human Rights Center Society,” the organization’s chairman, Malofeev, claimed on social media. “The special operation is doing its job, not just liberating Russian lands in Ukraine but also cleansing Russia itself.”

On its own social media, the Tsargrad Society (previously known as the Double-Headed Eagle Society for the Development of Russian Historical Education) also takes credit for kickstarting the felony case against Roizman “and drawing public attention in the media space.”

Police in Yekaterinburg arrested Roizman on August 24 on felony charges of “discrediting” Russia’s armed forces. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison. Roizman is being prosecuted for the felony offense of repeatedly violating a misdemeanor statute (introduced after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine) that bans speech deemed defamatory against the military. The criminal case was opened in response to a video shared on YouTube where Roizman spoke about the war in Ukraine and allegedly expressed his desire to see Russia’s political situation “destabilized.” Previously, he was fined three times for “discrediting” the army.

On August 25, a local court imposed several restrictions on Roizman’s activities while investigators build their case, but the judge rejected prosecutors’ request to place him under house arrest.