Including on Tuesday in response to content posted on a Facebook user group, criminal proceedings were instituted under Article 74.1 and the second part of Article 78 of the Criminal Law, that is, for justifying and glorifying war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine and national and ethnic hatred. or causing discord against both Ukrainians and Latvians. LETA has already reported that in the mentioned criminal proceedings, one person – the founder and administrator of the specific “Facebook” thematic group – has been applied for the status of a suspect and a security measure.
On Wednesday, the SES initiated another criminal proceeding under Article 74.1 of the Criminal Law – for public justification and glorification of war crimes and crimes against peace committed by the Russian Armed Forces.
On Thursday, the VDD started three criminal proceedings. One of the criminal proceedings was initiated in accordance with Article 74.1 of the Criminal Law, namely for justifying and glorifying Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The other two were initiated in accordance with Section 78, Paragraph two of the Criminal Law – on actions aimed at inciting national and ethnic hatred or discord against Ukrainians.
All criminal proceedings have been initiated in connection with content published on the Internet, which glorifies and justifies the war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine or deliberately provokes negative attitudes towards the Ukrainians.
At the same time, the evaluation of several cases is still ongoing.
The SLS also continued to take measures to protect Latvia’s information space. The SLS notes that since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the SLS has identified several hundred false profiles on the social networking sites used by Latvians, which systematically and purposefully express their support for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. These false profiles are characterized by involvement in discussions with other users of social networking sites, disseminating war propaganda messages typical of the Kremlin and trying to set the Latvian population against war refugees in Ukraine and our country. These false profiles also spread misinformation with the aim of denigrating Latvia and undermining the people’s faith in their country.
The SLS has taken steps to mitigate the damage caused by these fake accounts, many of which are currently blocked.
It has already been reported that the court has detained the founder and administrator of the Facebook thematic group, which had been detained by the SLS on suspicion of systematically glorifying and justifying war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
The investigation into this case is ongoing and the SLS will provide further information on the progress of the criminal proceedings. The name of the specific group is not disclosed either, but LETA made sure that Facebook is a group called “Kriminaya Latvia” (Criminal Latvia), which has about 27,000 registered members and this group was shut down on Thursday. The group contains hostile messages in support of Russia’s wars. At this time, the group’s description does not contain information about its administrators.
The agency LETA also found out that there are several thematic groups formed in Latvia on Facebook, the members of which often express pro-democracy messages, including in connection with the war in Ukraine. The number of members of such groups varies from a few tens to several thousand. The manifestations of Russophobia in Latvia are discussed in the groups, and entries are made about Latvia as a failed state.
Kiril Fyodorov was also arrested in one of the cases investigated in support of Russia’s war. Another case is against a woman detained by a legionnaire at a memorial event at the Freedom Monument in Riga on March 16.
In another case, on March 9, the court imposed a security measure – arrest – on Aivas Vasilevskis, who is suspected of acquitting Russia for war crimes, but had previously been a prominent Covid-19 deny activist. He is one of four members of the DVS Urantia Center for Spiritual Development and Healing, who is accused of justifying Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. Latvian Television reported that one of the quartets is also Aivis’ father, “healer” Ventis Vasilevskis.
On the early morning of February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine. Initially, military facilities were bombed, but later attacks on settlements began.