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Russia initiates criminal proceedings against pregnant city councilwoman

#Russia #initiates #criminal #proceedings #pregnant #city #councilwoman

Russian investigators on Friday opened a criminal investigation into a pregnant Siberian councilwoman who is one of the last allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny still in the country.

Russia’s investigative committee said it had launched a criminal case against Helga Pirogova for spreading false information about the army.

She is an independent member of the city council of Novosibirsk, the third largest city in Russia.

The 33-year-old has spoken out against Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Her supporters say Pirogova is four months pregnant

She was briefly arrested on Thursday.

Investigators accused Pirogova of posting “false information” about the Russian army in mid-July when she tweeted a report about the funeral of troops killed in Ukraine.

She said she wanted to “revive” the troops to punish them for their role in Moscow’s offensive and then “leave them to their graves”.

She later deleted her tweet, calling it “too emotional.”

Pirogova said she wanted to draw attention to the fact that people in the Russian provinces are so poor that instead of mourning their dead, they admire the funeral arrangements made by officials.

“You can invite half the village!” she said in a Facebook post this week.

In March, Pirogova caused an uproar when she showed up to a council meeting in a blue shirt and a wreath of yellow flowers – the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

When Pirogova was elected in 2020, she was part of a coalition of Navalny’s allies and independent candidates allowed to run for office on exceptional occasions.

Putin’s decision to send troops to Ukraine on February 24 hastened an already ruthless crackdown on dissenters.

Almost all key opposition figures are now either in exile or in prison, and virtually all criticism of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine is banned.

“I do not support conflict and what is happening is an immense tragedy for everyone,” Pirogova, a teacher by training, told AFP in an interview in March.

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