Supreme Court upholds fine for woman who congratulated Russian paratroopers

Supreme Court Criminal Review Chamber.
Supreme Court Criminal Review Chamber. Source: Ode Maria Punamäe/ERR

The Supreme Court Criminal Review Chamber on Thursday found that fining a woman who congratulated Russian paratroopers was justified as her act amounted to supporting and justifying crimes Russian forces have committed in Ukraine.

The police fined Galina Kisseljova €120 for posting congratulations on the event of Paratrooper's Day in Russia in a Facebook group of Jõhvi and Kohtla-Järve residents on August 2 last year. A GIF added to the post depicted the flag of Russian airborne troops and soldiers displaying insignia of Russian paratroopers.

However, the county court overturned the fine and terminated misdemeanor proceedings as it found the image had no direct link to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, war crimes and genocide committed there.

The Supreme Court disagreed and reinstated the fine as a result of its Thursday decision.

The top court's press release reads that public display of symbols of aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes in a way that supports of vindicates such acts is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The court said that Russia's campaign in Ukraine had been going on for months when Kisseljova published her post. Terrible war crimes Russia has committed in Ukraine, including the murder, torture and rape of civilians in Bucha, which have been associated with paratroopers, had also come to light by then.

During such a period, congratulations added to an image of paratroopers constitutes a clear show of support for Russian armed forces and crimes committed, the Supreme Court concluded. What is more, Russia has made ideological use of the cult of paratroopers for decades, and Paratrooper's Day, celebrated as a national holiday in Russia, has no connection whatsoever to the Republic of Estonia.

The Criminal Review Chamber added that whether the international crime based on which use of such symbols is punishable has been estasblished by a court of law or not has no bearing. The Republic of Estonia has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, refers to it as an act of aggression in a Riigikogu statement and finds cruelty visited upon the Ukrainian people to constitute war crimes and genocide.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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