Novosibirsk man handed 25-year sentence for planning to set fire to draft office — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Novosibirsk man handed 25-year sentence for planning to set fire to draft office

Ilya Baburin in court. Photo: NEXTA

Ilya Baburin in court. Photo: NEXTA

A man in the western Siberian city of Novosibirsk was sentenced to a record 25 years behind bars on Monday for planning to set fire to a military recruitment office in September 2022, Russian independent news outlet Sotavision reported.

Sotavision said that Novosibirsk’s Eastern District Military Court found 24-year-old Ilya Baburin guilty of six charges: terrorism, attempting to facilitate terrorist activity, participating in the activities of a terrorist organisation, participating in an illegally armed formation, illegally circulating special means for covert information gathering, and attempted treason.

Prosecutors claimed that, “as an opponent of the special military operation”, Baburin had colluded with members of Ukraine’s Azov military battalion to throw a Molotov cocktail a draft office in Novosibirsk, though the attack was ultimately “not carried out by Baburin due to circumstances beyond his control”.

While Baburin and his lawyer Vasily Dubkov did not deny that he had planned to throw a Molotov cocktail at a draft office, they argued that as Baburin did not ultimately carry out the attack, the charges against him should be revised from terrorism to attempted hooliganism.

“The fact that someone will spend 20-30 years in prison because of their sick ambitions doesn’t bother them”, Baburin added.

Baburin, who in October 2022 was added to Russia’s list of “terrorists and extremists”, pleaded not guilty to all charges. In his final statement to the court on Thursday, he called the case against him “absurd” and said investigators had brought terrorism and treason charges against him in an attempt to “earn stars and climb the career ladder”.

“The fact that someone will spend 20-30 years in prison because of their sick ambitions doesn’t bother them”, Baburin added.

Baburin’s sentence is believed to be the longest handed down to date for the attempted arson of a draft office. Arson attempts on military recruitment centres have become a widespread form of protest since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In January, Russia’s Interior Ministry said that there had been 220 such cases in the past two years.

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