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Yekaterinburg cathedral protester faces criminal charges for insulting a police officer

Yekaterinburg resident Stanislav Melnichenko, who took part in mass protests in the city of Yekaterinburg to prevent a new cathedral from being built in a central square, has been charged with insulting a government representative. Investigators claim that Melnichenko “used explicit language publicly and in an indecent manner and demonstratively, openly performed offensive gestures” toward a police officer. Legal penalties for insulting the government online were introduced in Russia only this year, but penalties of up to 40,000 rubles ($613), 360 hours of mandatory labor, or one year of corrective volunteer work were already in place for publicly insulting an on-duty government representative. Melnichenko has already faced a 12,000-ruble ($184) administrative fine for his participation in the protests and signed an agreement not to leave Yekaterinburg.