Anatoly Pleshanov / Vkontakte

A court in St. Petersburg has sentenced a blogger for a social media post in which he criticized Russian support for Ukrainian refugees.

Anatoly Pleshanov was added to a terrorism list in 2016 after he allegedly wrote an incendiary post on the popular social media site VK, the Moscow-based SOVA research center said Monday in an online statement.

According to official accounts, Russia has spent at least 5 billion rubles ($84 million) on aid for Ukrainians who have fled the ongoing conflict in their country. Russia has been accused of fomenting the conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and the Kiev regime following the toppling of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych — a claim Russia denies.

SOVA cited a court ruling as saying that Pleshanov “wrote that he’s dissatisfied with Russia’s and Russian citizens’ help to Ukrainian residents."

“The author believes that the Russian population itself doesn’t enjoy this level of help and support in their country.”

On Monday, a district court in St. Petersburg handed Pleshanov a one-year suspended sentence for inciting national hatred.

The exact content of the post has not been made public or included in court documents, the state-run TASS news agency reported.

SOVA says Pleshanov unjustly faced criminal charges, arguing in its online statement that his post could at most be interpreted as insulting.

But, following the ruling, Pleshanov wrote in a post on his VK page that he was “pleased” with the sentence.
Blogger Sentenced for Criticizing Russian Aid to Ukrainian Citizens

Russia has, since 2014, absorbed up to a million refugees from the Donbass, like this lady and her kids


Some were evacuated by Russia's own Ministry of Emergency Situations, on their buses, trains, and planes

and many initially housed in camps in Rostov region, near the Ukrainian border, until more permanent accommodation was found for them



I recall, at the time, Lidya Novoseltseva, a former Miss Russia winner who by then entered politics and became a Duma member, visiting one of those camps, handing out presents to the kids there


Anyway, others, like this family

simply crossed into Russia in own cars and went to their own relatives there, and only later started coming forward to officially register as refugees.

This is what made it damn difficult to even count up these folks...

Today, most of the refugees, such as this girl and her mother

have received subsidized housing funded both by federal programs and regional governments; and she is also attending a Russian school. Refugees from Ukraine have mostly had no problems having their children entered into local schools, at a. This is an important point: there are also a very small number, a few thousand, Syrian refugees, mostly concentrated in this one town near Moscow, and the activists helping them have found it extremely difficult to enroll the Syrian kids into local Russian schools, the education authorities have even defied a Supreme Court order this year, which obliged them to let them in: Russian schools refuse foreign kids

So, big difference in treatment of fellow white, Slavic, Orthodox Christian refugees (even fellow ethnic Russians, often enough) vs. Arabs from the Middle East. I suppose that is not surprising.

Yet, even with the Donbassians, there is resentment among some local Russians. They, after all, get social housing, school spots and free cafeteria meals, and other aid previously meant for low income Russians. They take some menial jobs that Russians could also do and get paid for. Etc. At a time when like 25 million Russians live below their poverty line, that is - on less than $5 a day. Of course there would be some resentment.

Just like when local low income youths in Moscow universities lost their subsidized spots, to make space for students from Crimea, who also got subsidies, after the Peninsula was annexed.

Of course not everyone likes this. It's not something you talk about in public. There is still the spirit that "these (Crimeans, Donbassians) are our brothers and sisters, helping them is our duty", these are not, again, some Arabs from Syria, these people are family, considered as such by most. Complaining about them or the cost of them, is seen as sacrilege, essentially, and, as you see, can even result in criminal charges and being labelled a fucking terrorist!

Nonetheless, a great showcase of problems with refugees in large numbers. Russia at 146 million people takes in a million refugees from Donbass, people who speak the same language, worship the same God, and otherwise basically dress, eat, and generally act no different than Russians from Russia. And still, there are issues.

Now, look at Germany, 82 million people, taking in a million Arabs and Afghans and such, people of a totally alien culture and way of life. I wonder every day how the hell they make it all work, over there. Germany is much wealthier than Russia, they do have that going for them, more resources to use...