Russian actor may face criminal charges following his interview with Novaya Gazeta Europe

Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia’s Investigative Committee, has given instructions to open a criminal case against Russian actor Artur Smolyaninov, the committee reported.

“In an interview with a Western media outlet Smolyaninov made several remarks aimed against Russia,” the statement reads.

The Kremlin slammed Smolyaninov, doubling down on the recent instruction to open a criminal case against him. “No one in the Kremlin is thinking anything good about this actor. But in this particular case it is more important what our relevant agencies think about these remarks,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Smolyaninov now faces prosecution for his interview with Novaya Gazeta Europe. The actor particularly said that he would fight on Kyiv’s side if he had to take part in the hostilities.

“I feel nothing but hatred to the people on the other (Russian — editor’s note) side of the frontline. And if I were there on the ground, there’d be no mercy. My friends wrote to me to say that my colleague Soslan Fidarov went to the frontline to fight on the Russian side. Would I shoot him? Without any doubt! Do I keep my options to go fight for Ukraine open? Absolutely! This is the only way for me. And if I were to go to this war, I would only fight for Ukraine,” Smolyaninov said.

Member of Russian parliament Yevgeny Popov then suggested opening a criminal case and “revoking his passport”.

“I believe that this runaway actor should follow in [Russian journalist Alexander] Nevzorov’s footsteps and face a criminal case. These actors should immediately have all their state contracts for movies revoked. On my side, I will appeal to the Investigative Committee to have a criminal case opened against this traitor,” another Russian MP Sultan Khamzayev said.

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