Russian man jailed in first terrorism trial of its kind
A Russian court has sentenced a man to 12 years in prison after he was involved in an arson attack on a military office. The man and an accomplice were promised a large sum for tossing firebombs at the facility on camera, they told investigators.
The ruling by a military court in Ekaterinburg on Tuesday is the first time a defendant has been sentenced on terrorism charges in Russia for attacking a military commissariat, according to TASS. The commissar’s office is responsible for keeping records of military reservists and enrolling them into service during conscription or mobilization.
The incident happened in early May 2022 in the western Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk and was filmed by a witness, with the footage later being published by local media. The video showed one man throwing seven Molotov cocktails into a window of the city’s military commissariat before he and his accomplice fled. The fire was dealt with by first responders and caused minimal damage, police said at the time.
The two perpetrators were identified as Vladislav Borisenko and Vasily Gavrilishen. Initially suspected of hooliganism and intentional property damage, they were later charged with the more serious offense of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act after more details of the case came to light.
The two men told investigators they had carried out the attack to make money. They claimed a person had contacted them on social media and offered to pay as much as $43,000 for staging and filming the incident, and even transferred an advance of around $1,000 in cryptocurrency.
Gavrilishen allegedly made and threw the firebombs, while Borisenko filmed the scene.
The two defendants were tried separately. Both confessed to the initial charges, but denied being terrorists. They faced up to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges, compared to up to 10 years for hooliganism.
Borisenko’s sentence was handed down by the Central District Military Court in Ekaterinburg. The 12-year term is the lowest allowed for the crime. Gavrilishen’s trial is ongoing.