A transgender individual has been arrested in the Orel region on charges of state treason by the FSB (The Federal Security Service). According to the intelligence agency, the LGBT activist is suspected of providing financial support to the Ukrainian army. Three more individuals were detained on the same criminal charges on July 13, as reported by RIA Novosti.
The Oryol LGBT activist, also a volunteer for the human rights project OVD-Info, was apprehended on July 13 in connection with the case of state treason. The FSB alleges that the individual was involved in transferring funds to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). OVD-Info has informed journalists from Novaya Gazeta. Europe that they are still unable to confirm the person’s identity.
On the same day, the FSB announced the initiation of state treason cases against a resident of the Vladimir region and two individuals from Kursk. In the Kursk region, law enforcement authorities claimed to have “disrupted” the activities of a criminal group, which allegedly gathered information about Ministry of Defense facilities in the region. The FSB stated that the detainees were found to possess communication equipment containing instructions from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Both men are currently in custody, facing charges of state treason and preparation for sabotage.
The Investigative Committee has recently initiated a criminal case of state treason against a resident of Vyazniki in the Vladimir region. Allegedly, the individual attempted to cross the border into Ukraine with the intention to join the Russian Freedom Legion* fighting on the side of the AFU. The pro-Kremlin TASS news agency reported that the man regularly submitted questionnaires to the legion's email account between March and December 2022. In May, he was apprehended by the FSB at the border of the Bryansk region.
There has been a noticeable increase in the number of state treason cases in Russia. In April alone, eight cases on these charges were recorded. Dmitry Zair-Bek, the head of the human rights project First Department, shared with 7x7 that similar trends in "spy" cases were observed following the war in Georgia in 2008 and the conflict in Donbas in 2014. Zair-Bek deems the current situation as more concerning.
Dmitry Zair-Bek says that in the past six months, the charge of state treason has been predominantly applied to individuals who, according to the investigation, attempted to defect to the enemy side. It is worth noting that the number of actual criminal cases exceeds what has been reported in open sources.
*The Russian Freedom Legion is recognized as a terrorist organization in Russia.