Convicted Russian murderer pardoned after fighting in Ukraine for three months

Vyacheslav Samoylov, a resident of Russia’s Arkhangelsk region who was sentenced to nine years and seven months in prison for murder, has been pardoned after three months of fighting with the Russian military in Ukraine, his mother Olga Samoylova told local news outlet 29.RU.

Investigators said Samoylov murdered and dismembered his lover, 33-year-old Olga Shlyamina, on 21 March 2021. Her body was subsequently found in a forest. Prosecutors believe Samoylov got into a fight with Shlyamina, beat her up, and then strangled her. The prosecutors said that he dismembered the body “to cover up the crime” and burned her clothing and belongings.

Samoylov acknowledged hitting Shlyamina and conceded that he “could have killed her”. He pleaded partially guilty but told the court that her murder had not been premeditated, alleging that Shlyamina pounced on him first out of jealousy.

The man was sentenced in spring 2022. His mother said that he went directly from prison to fight in Ukraine and then returned home with a pardon.

His mother noted that her son “bore some responsibility” but stressed that he was now “clean before God”. “He has been released and pardoned. It’s a fresh start”, Samoylova said.

She said that Samoylov had been injured while fighting, and was still waiting for a rehabilitation course after leaving hospital.

Samoylova said that her son had always been “respected at work”. “That’s just what happened. No one is protected from this, right? … He will now get the treatment, and his life will continue”, she added.

This is not the first time military service in Ukraine has been factored into prison sentences for serious crimes in Russia. In July, a court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don sentenced a serviceman to just one year in prison for murdering his ex-wife after his military service in Ukraine was taken into account as an extenuating circumstance.

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