Ihor Movenko has been sentenced by a court in Russian-occupied Sevastopol to two years in a minimum security prison for a comment on the VKontakte social network. The comments were only ‘noticed’ and a criminal prosecution for so-called ‘public calls to extremism’ launched after Movenko demanded an investigation into the brutal and unprovoked attack by a police officer that had left him hospitalized. The ruling on May 4 is even more disturbing in that the ‘prosecutor’ had asked for a suspended sentence, whereas ‘judge’ Pavel Kryllo from the Gagarin District Court in Sevastopol passed a real 2-year sentence, albeit in a ‘settlement’ prison colony (where the conditions are much less harsh). Movenko was taken into custody in the courtroom.

The prosecution was supposedly over a comment the 40-year-old Ukrainian made on the VKontakte group ‘Crimea is Ukraine’ back in the summer of 2016. The comment, about what should happen to traitors, after Russia’s occupation of Crimea ends, was strong, but rather an expression of ‘black humour’, Movenko had explained in court. The post was clearly a pretext which the occupation authorities decided to use over a year later, on 27 October 2017. Movenko was stopped from deleting this alleged ‘call to extremism’, as had earlier been Rafis Kashapov, the Russian Tatar activist jailed for 3 years for criticizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea. In both cases, the motive may well be to send a warning to others of how chillingly little can get you a prison sentence.

Movenko was attacked on 7 September, 2016, after he stopped to get money out of a cash machine and then returned to his bike, which had two Ukrainian stickers on it. One was Ukraine’s Trident, the other was of the ‘Azov Battalion’ which is now on Russia’s huge list of banned organizations.

The man who brutally assaulted him claimed to be from the police, though he did not show any ID. The Crimean Human Rights Group later did in fact identify him as Volodymyr Sukhodolsky, who had served in a Berkut special force unit before becoming a turncoat in 2014. He is now working for the Russian police.

This was an unmotivated attack, which left Movenko needing to be hospitalized. The doctors found an open head injury, concussion, a skull fracture, a broken jaw, broken nose, eye injury and more.

It was quite evident that he had been attacked, yet it was Movenko who had his hands bound after the police appeared. It was clear from the surreal video here, that the police who arrived were on the best of terms with the assailant. The officers even tried to stop Valentina Movenko, who had come as soon as somebody phoned her, from giving her husband some water as he lay on the ground, handcuffed and in obvious need of medical treatment.

At the beginning, the occupation authorities made it clear that Movenko would be facing administrative charges for alleged ‘extremism’ over the Azov sticker. They did, however, claim that criminal proceedings would be initiated against his assailant.

There is no evidence that a criminal investigation was ever launched over the attack, though Movenko himself ended up fined two thousand roubles for the sticker.

He continued to insist that there should be an investigation into the assault. This resulted only in his being taken by police from work on December 16, 2016, beaten up and threatened, before having a search carried out of his home.

He called the FSB detention that day a “special operation”, with FSB officers stopping him on his way to work. They began beating him, and threatening to take him to a forest, strip him naked and leave him there. They then took him to his work, and told him not to speak with anybody while they took his computer away. When he tried to say something, they dragged him into the corner and inflicted several blows. They then went to his home. His wife says that she was prevented from using a telephone to call a lawyer.

During the ‘court’ hearing on January 31, 2018, one of the official ‘witnesses’ of this search, whom the FSB almost certainly (and illegally) brought with them, was questioned. He confirmed that during the search Movenko had been held, with his hands in handcuffs behind his back, and had not been allowed to contact a lawyer.

None of these infringements were investigated either.

The message in this case could not be clearer.
Crimean savagely beaten for pro-Ukraine views gets 2-year prison sentence for 'extremism' - Human Rights in Ukraine

Movenko with his bike

Vladimir Sukhodolsky (no need to bastardise his name in the Ukrainian style, dude is Russian and identifies as such, patriotically so lol), his alleged assailant

He now serves in Russian National Guard, as his patches say, like all Berkut in Crimea.

Sukhodolsky standing over a bloodied Movenko

Movenko's bike nearby, with the Ukrainian nationalist symbols, and his wife crouched by him

FSB sent a full SWAT-type unit to take the poor son of a bitch down

He must have been scared shitless...

And now, he is going to a Russian prison...

It's all terrible. But, here is the thing, that pro-Kiev article left out a few things. Namely - this dude was essentially a well known provocateur. He had previous run-ins with people in Sevastopol. Got into a fight before, over him carrying a Ukrainian flag towards a huge pro-Russian demonstration there, during the Crisis in 2014. That didn't teach him anything, apparently. He posted online, on VKontakte and such, that he is gonna ride around Crimea in a Ukrainian coat of arms T-shirt and with Ukrainian symbols on his bike, and threatened to stab anyone who challenged him, civilian or cop or anyone. He made his face known in Crimea, this way, calling people out. Maybe he thought he was a tough guy, or just crazy, I have no idea. But, he was out there looking for trouble, and, as often happens, trouble found him. Sukhodolsky probably had comrades who were injured or killed at Maidan in Kiev, dozens of law enforcement members died in those clashes, along with dozens of the "peaceful protesters". When he saw those symbols on dude's bike... well, lets just say I understand his reaction, if not condone or support it necessarily.

This is Crimea. People there hate Ukraine and all to do with it. Trying to act a Ukrainian patriot there will end badly for you, will get your ass kicked, as, for example, this guy also found out the hard way more recently

More so after watching, also in 2016, Ukrainian nationalists in Kiev beat up Russian citizens who came to the embassy to vote in an election

after this one, to be frank, having yellow-blue colours of Ukraine on you will likely get you knocked the fuck out not just in Crimea, but, really, anywhere in Russia, at this point.

It is all sad, really, no question. Very sad. These used to be two very closely related peoples...

But this dude made his own bed, in this case. Now, all he can do is sleep in it...