On August 7, police in Tuva detained and interrogated Oyuma Dongak, the journalist who headed Ksenia Sobchak’s local presidential campaign headquarters earlier this year. Dongak says she faces felony charges for promoting Nazism because of two WWII-era photos she shared on Vkontakte back in 2014.
In the past several weeks, the public has learned about four extremism cases in the Altai Territory against Vkontakte users who shared memes with satirical overtones on religious themes. On August 6, Mail.ru, the parent company of Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, publicly condemned Russia’s practice of bringing criminal charges against social-media users for likes and reposts. The vast majority of criminal cases against Russian Internet users are filed against users of Vkontakte, which surrenders virtually all personal data, whenever requested by law enforcement, according to human rights activists.
The Russian Orthodox Church says criminal punishment is unnecessary whenever a suspect confesses and repents speech that offends religious people.