St. Petersburg couple charged with ‘inciting terrorism’ for anti-war napkins

A court in Russia’s Leningrad region charged a married couple of “inciting terrorism” on Thursday for allegedly leaving anti-war messages on napkins in a St. Petersburg supermarket.

Artist Anastasia Dyudyayeva and her husband Alexander Dotsenko are accused of leaving several Ukrainian-language notes in the shop, including one with a call to send “Putin to the gallows”.

They were detained and had their property searched on Wednesday ahead of a closed court hearing to determine their pre-trial restrictions on Thursday. Investigators said that they found sketches of the anti-war notes during their search of the couple’s home.

Artist Anastasia Dyudyayeva and her husband Alexander Dotsenko. Photo: Social media

Artist Anastasia Dyudyayeva and her husband Alexander Dotsenko. Photo: Social media

A local news agency reported earlier in January that a 45-year-old woman who visited the supermarket had found a folded napkin containing “praise for Ukraine, and offensive language directed at the President of Russia” as she unpacked her shopping.

Dyudyayeva’s artworks had previously been displayed at clandestine anti-war exhibitions, including one hosted at the couple’s apartment that was raided by police in May, independent media reported.

In a 2022 interview with Novaya Europe, Dyudyayeva described herself as “the darkest artist in the Northwest,” stressing that “Putin made me that way”.

In November, another St. Petersburg artist, Sasha Skochilenko, was sentenced to seven years in prison for spreading “known untruths” about the Russian army after leaving anti-war messages disguised as price tags at a local supermarket.

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