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Kazan resident handed probation and fine for trying to add Hitler to Russia’s ‘Immortal Regiment’

Tatarstan’s Supreme Court has handed down a sentence to Kazan resident Mukhammed El-Aiyub, who tried to submit a photograph of Adolf Hitler to Russia’s virtual “Immortal Regiment” event, reported spokespeople for the Investigative Committee on Wednesday, December 2.

The court sentenced 21-year-old El-Aiyub to a year of probation and a 150,000 ruble fine (about $1,985), its press service told the state news agency TASS. El-Aiyub was found guilty of attempting to “rehabilitate Nazism.” He was also convicted of illegal drug possession.

According to state investigators, on May 4, El-Aiyub sent a photograph of Hitler to the “Memory Bank” website so that it would be broadcast among images of war veterans during this year’s online “Immortal Regiment” event. During a subsequent search of El-Aiyub’s home, investigators found that he was growing four marijuana plants. 

El-Aiyub told investigators that he posted the photo because he sympathizes with Hitler and that he was growing the marijuana for personal use. He pleaded guilty during the investigation and offered a public apology. During the trial, he said “I was never a Nazi.”

Representatives from the Immortal Regiment’s Executive Committee confirmed that all submissions to the website were moderated and that a “colossal circle of people” saw the Kazan resident’s profile with the photograph of Adolf Hitler (whether or not the image actually ended up on the Immortal Regiment website remains unclear). 

In 2020, Russia’s annual Immortal Regiment march was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. Participants were invited to upload photographs of their relatives who fought in World War II to the “Memory Bank.” The photos were then broadcast online, as well as on television and on media screens as part of a virtual procession.

The Immortal Regiment’s website ended up publishing photographs of Nazi war criminals, which had been submitted under made-up names. This resulted in the launch of several criminal investigations. In September, a resident of the Ulyanov region received a 120,000-ruble (about $1,590) fine for managing to get a photograph of Hitler published on the Immortal Regiment’s website. 

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