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Russian court convicts man of ‘falsifying history’ for saying the USSR shares responsibility for starting WWII

Source: Kommersant

A court in Perm has fined a local man 200,000 rubles ($3,120) for reposting on social media an article titled “15 Facts about Bandera's Followers, or What the Kremlin Isn't Saying.” He is the region's first conviction under Russia's new law criminalizing the “rehabilitation of Nazism.” The court determined that the article in question contained knowingly false information about the joint attack by Nazi Germany and the USSR against Poland on September 1, 1939, and about the causes of the Second World War. Specifically, the article contradicted statements by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

The man convicted of “rehabilitating Nazism” is Vladimir Luzgin, who reposted the “15 Facts” article on December 24, 2014. He initially confessed to the crime, but later reversed his position, saying he was unaware of the Nuremberg Tribunal's verdict. The court consulted 20 different experts during Luzgin's case. Investigators also interrogated his father, who revealed that Luzgin is a vocal critic of Moscow's intervention in Ukraine.

Luzgin's defense attorney argued that the article only addressed the activities of Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera and the Communists, not the USSR as a nation. The court found, however, that Luzgin's knowledge of history was sufficient to know he was disseminating false information about about causes of World War II. The judge's verdict even cites his high marks in history from grade school. The court's ruling also argues that Luzgin should have anticipated that reposting the article risked “harmful effects” on the general public, including children, cultivating “persistent beliefs about the USSR's negative activities” during the Second World War.

“15 Facts about Bandera's Followers, or What the Kremlin Isn't Saying” accuses Moscow of condemning Ukrainian nationalists for past collaboration with the Nazis, despite the Soviet Union's own collaboration with Hitler. “Communism and Nazism cooperated [through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact], but for some reason [the Kremlin] points the finger at Bandera, whom the Germans jailed for proclaiming the independence of Ukraine,” the article begins.