Jailed former mayor of Vladivostok given early release to fight in Ukraine

The jailed former mayor of Vladivostok, a major port in Russia’s Far East, has been released from prison to fight in the country’s war in Ukraine, his lawyer told Russian media on Saturday.

Oleg Gumenyuk, who served as Vladivostok’s mayor from April 2019 to May 2021, had been serving a 12-year prison sentence since being found guilty last year of accepting bribes worth 38 million rubles (€394,000) during his time in office.



“According to the order issued to Gumenyuk, he was supposed to report to his military unit on 22 December,” his lawyer Alexander Kitayev said, adding that did not know Gumenyuk’s current whereabouts.

A photograph published by Vladivostok news agency purportedly shows Gumenyuk, armed and in military uniform, with his fellow soldiers.

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service has not commented on Gumemyuk’s release.

Gumenyuk resigned as mayor in 2021 amid criticism of his work by the federal authorities in Russia’s Far East. Initially sentenced to 16.5 years behind bars for accepting bribes during his time in office, Gumenyuk’s sentence was reduced on appeal to 12 years in May.

Russia’s pardoning of prisoners to fight its war in Ukraine has drawn widespread media attention, with the country reportedly having recruited as many as 100,000 convicts since its full-scale invasion of its neighbour began in February 2022.

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