Moscow Court Reduces Sentences Of Two Convicted In ‘New Greatness’ Case

MOSCOW — The Moscow City Court on January 12 slightly reduced prison terms handed to two men convicted in the high-profile case of the so-called New Greatness movement.

The court reduced the seven-year prison term of Ruslan Kostylenkov by three months, and the 6 1/2-year prison term of Pyotr Karamzin by two months.

The six-year prison term of Ruslan Kostylenkov, as well as suspended prison terms for Anna Pavlikova, Maksim Roshchin, Maria Dubovik, and Dmitry Poletayev were upheld at the hearing.

The men and women reiterated their not-guilty pleas saying that the case against them was groundless as there were no victims and no damages inflicted either to individuals or to the state.

They were arrested in 2018 and charged with creating an extremist group with the intention of overthrowing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.

Critics say the case against them was fabricated by Russia’s security services.

The rights group Memorial describes the seven as political prisoners.

Pavlikova was 17 at the time of her arrest. Her being held under house arrest for several months sparked protests in Moscow and other cities.

The defendants say they had turned their online chat group into a political movement called New Greatness at the suggestion of one group member.

Later, it was revealed that the man who proposed the idea, wrote the movement’s charter, and rented premises for gatherings was a special agent of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

In late-October, another member of the group, Pavel Rebrovsky, was sentenced to six years in prison after a Moscow court found him guilty of creating an extremist organization.

In April 2019, Rebrovsky made a deal with investigators to testify against other suspects in the high-profile case, and was sentenced to 29 months in prison for being a member of the group.

However, several months later, after Rebrovsky recanted his testimony, saying it had been made under duress, prosecutors demanded that his verdict and sentence be annulled, which the Moscow City Court did in October 2019.

One more member of the group, Rustam Rustamov received a suspended 18-month prison sentence in 2019 after he made a deal with investigators.

Another group member, Sergei Gavrilov, fled to Ukraine in October 2019, where he asked for political asylum.

This post was originally published on Radio Free.