Former Soviet dissident facing charges for social media call to bomb Crimean Bridge

A case has been opened against 66-year old Soviet-era dissident Alexander Skobov for “justifying terrorism” over a social media post he wrote about the Ukrainian bombing of the Crimean Bridge, according to human rights project Support for Political Prisoners. Memorial.


A court in St. Petersburg has remanded Alexander Skobov in custody until 1 June.

Skobov was detained on Tuesday at the home of human rights activist Yuly Rybakov and taken to a temporary detention facility where he will be held until 1 June. According to Rybakov, when being detained, Skobov refused to take his diabetes medication with him as a sign of protest.

In August Skobov called for the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, which connects Russia to the annexed peninsula, in a post on Telegram. Before that, he had said that the destruction of the bridge was “extremely important from a military-political point of view” and called a failed Ukrainian attempt to destroy it a “shame”.

The Crimean bridge has been damaged by Ukrainian forces twice since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and on Wednesday, Ukrainian senior military figures told The Guardian that its destruction was “inevitable”.

Skobov has previously been fined for his links to the pro-democracy Free Russia Forum, an organisation that has been deemed “undesirable” and effectively outlawed in Russia, but which condemned his detention, calling it “arbitrary” and demanding his immediate release. He also served time in a psychiatric hospital for protesting against the Soviet regime.

Skobov publicly opposed both Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but despite being deemed a “foreign agent” by the authorities in March, he has chosen to remain in Russia.

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