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Tyumen court reopens case against war protester originally acquitted based on fishy wordplay argument


A court in Tyumen has reopened an administrative case against a woman accused of “discrediting” the Russian army after she wrote an anti-war message on one of the city's main public squares, according to local media reports.

The charges were originally brought against 30-year-old Alisa Klimentova in September after she wrote what appeared to be the phrase “No to war,” replacing most of the letters in the final word with asterisks. In court, however, Klimentova managed to convince the judge to drop her case by arguing that her real message was not “Not to war” but “No to the Caspian roach” — a species of fish whose name in Russian shares a first and last letter with the word for “war.” She told the judge that she wrote the message because she “dislikes this type of fish.”

“I was actually confident that the police’s complaint would be rejected and the judge’s decision would remain unchanged. I don’t know what will happen next,” Klimentova told journalists after she learned that the case had been reopened.

The phrase “No to the Caspian roach,” (“Nyet voblye” in Russian) caught public attention after Klimentova’s initial defense strategy appeared in the media. Among other things, journalist and socialite Ksenya Sobchak released a line of clothing with the phrase on it, while comedian Semyon Slepakov released a song named after it.

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