Russian railway line saboteur receives 14-year sentence for ‘collaboration’ and ‘justifying terrorism’

Vladlen Menshikov was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Photo: Vechernie Vedomosti

Vladlen Menshikov was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Photo: Vechernie Vedomosti

A Russian military court handed a Sverdlovsk region resident a 14-year prison sentence on Monday after finding him guilty on charges of “collaboration with foreign governments” and “justifying terrorism”, according to online news outlet Vechernie Vedomosti.

Vladlen Menshikov pleaded guilty to the charges and will serve the first four years of his sentence in prison and the rest in a prison colony.

Investigators accused Menshikov of placing jumper cables on a railway line in his hometown of Rezh in an unsuccessful attempt to derail a train carrying military equipment. Menshikov had been acting on instructions from the Freedom of Russia Legion, a Russian paramilitary group fighting alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces against the Russian military, they added.

Menshikov was arrested while attempting to fly to Belarus from St. Petersburg in September 2022. He was initially charged with sabotage, but this was subsequently amended to the more serious charges of collaborating with a foreign government and justifying terrorism.

Menshikov has in the past been critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine, even comparing the use of the pro-war Z symbol in Russia to the swastika, state-affiliated paper Kommersant reported.

One source told the newspaper that Menshikov aligned “with the views and beliefs of the Ukrainian Armed Forces” and was himself planning to leave Russia to fight alongside Ukrainian forces.

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