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A case has been opened against Alexander Nevzorov for calling the bombing of a Ukrainian maternity hospital…the bombing of a Ukrainian maternity hospital.
Russia’s Investigative Committee accuses Nevzorov, a Russian journalist and former MP, of deliberately spreading false information about the event which happened in Mariupol, Ukraine earlier this month. Conviction for such a crime could carry fifteen years in prison.
Nevzorov is the first high-profile personality to be investigated under the new war-time legislation.
Russia asserts the hospital in Mariupol had been all but evacuated prior to the attack and occupied by ultra-nationalist fighters. But others have said what the Russian army did is nothing short of a war crime.
“All information about war crimes is perceived extremely painfully by Russia,” Nevzorov told Fox News. “And the tragedy that happened to the maternity hospital in Mariupol was like a stake through the heart of a vampire. And they, of course, went mad. They explicitly announced a ban on talking about the subject at all. But I posted information about it on all my social media. I don’t consider that a heroic deed. It’s normal professional behavior.”
Nevzorov is out of the country and said he is tempted to go back “to show those idiots not everyone is afraid of him.” But he presumes returning would mean jail time and perhaps prefers to keep writing about what’s going on from afar. Meantime, he has a wish for President Vladimir Putin.
“For God’s sake, give him 100 more palaces, give him 500 more female gymnasts!” he says, gymnasts being a reference to Alina Kabaeva, Putin’s rumored girlfriend or wife and perhaps mother of some of his children. She was an Olympic rhythmic gymnast.
“Just,” Nevzorov continued his train of thought, “so he will not carry out his schizophrenic schemes to become lord of the world. Let him play with such palaces, let him be engaged with his personal life, let him steal as much as he wants just to take his mind off his mania to murder.”
But then he pauses and seems to think twice about the palace comment, which refers to a billion dollar Italianate palace in Gelendzhik on the Black Sea that opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his team say belongs to President Putin.
They released an investigative video about it last year that’s been viewed well over 100 million times.
“Putin’s palace stands in a country where 40 million people have no sewage system. If you take all the Russian latrines made of boards with a hole in the floor, where you have to sit in freezing temperatures of minus 30 degrees, and put them together, they would take up an area the size of Chicago.”
Nevzorov is doubtful anyone can convince Putin to change his mind about the war. He said Putin is driven by “delusions of grandeur.”
He said most average Russians don’t grasp Putin’s motivations.
“Our people are in an absolute zombie state, in an absolutely false and extremely grave state of mind,” Nevzorov said. “And Putin has the ability to constantly feed on this state. And even this Luzhniki rally was like a dose of drugs for the dictator. He did not care whether the rally was fake or artificial, whether people were paid or not. He needed banners and crowds of people to make him blossom and spark again.”
The Luzhnki rally was a big concert held March 18 to celebrate the annexation of Crimea where the slogan “A World Without Nazism” was spelled out prominently on stage. More 200,000 people were said to have attended the rally and some told journalists on the ground they’d been pressured by bosses to go.
Nevrozov said many Russians are content to consume only state-run media.
“They want to remain trapped by propaganda,” he said. “They want to remain trapped by delusional statements about some Nazis. Where did they find the Nazis? Where did they ever see Nazis in Ukraine?”
“The scary thing,” he concluded, “is that Russia is putting forward as a guide, as a textbook of life a vicious, bloody, horrible, dead-end.”