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8 Sep, 2020 16:20

Russian military historian handed 12 year jail sentence in latest secretive 'high treason' trial – exact nature of crime unknown

Russian military historian handed 12 year jail sentence in latest secretive 'high treason' trial – exact nature of crime unknown

A Moscow court has sentenced military historian and Armed Forces reservist Andrei Zhukov to 12 and a half years in prison for high treason. The trial was held behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the case materials.

Judge Andrei Suvorov decided that Zhukov deserves a long stint behind bars. Although the exact nature of his crime is not known, a source for Russian news agency TASS reported that the charges refer to “the history of Russian Armed Forces and his active activities on the internet.”

Zhukov first came to the attention of Russian authorities in 2012, according to Moscow business daily RBK. The historian was called as a witness in the case of officer Sergey Cherepanov, who was accused of publishing documents on the deployment of Russian troops on an internet forum about military history. Six years later, on June 25, Zhukov himself was arrested.

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TASS explained that Zhukov was particularly interested in the deployment, formation and disbandment of various Russian army units, and regularly posted on military history forums to discuss the country’s armed forces.

Information about Russia’s Armed Forces is kept highly classified, and leaks about secret information can be punished with a long stint in a penal colony. If found guilty of high treason, a transgressor can expect to spend between 12 and 20 years in prison.

Aside from Zhukov, there have been at least two other high profile cases of high treason in 2020. In July, former journalist Ivan Safronov was controversially arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) after allegedly passing information to the Czech Republic. Last month, YouTube blogger and urban explorer Andrey Pyzh was detained in Moscow, accused of accessing state secrets.

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