Russian Student Journalists Sentenced Over Freedom of Assembly Video

A Moscow court on April 12 sentenced four former editors of independent student-led news outlet DOXA to two years of “correctional labor” over a video in which they defended young Russians’ freedom of assembly.

The court ruled that the three-minute video posted on Youtube in April 2021 by Armen Aramyan, Natasha Tyshkevich, Alla Gutnikova, and Volodya Metelkin incited minors to illegally protest in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The court also banned the journalists from administering websites for three years.

Doxa founder Aramyan, 24, told The Guardian that the sentence “could have been worse.”

“I am very glad to be finally free. It was an amazing feeling when our ankle bracelets were taken off right in court… At the same time, we still received a real sentence for an absurd, made-up case,” Aramyan said.

The journalists had been facing up to three years in jail.

The video had been deleted at the request of authorities, according to DOXA.

DOXA said about 100 of its supporters gathered outside the courthouse to await the verdict, two of whom have been detained, The Moscow Times reported.

Students and university graduates at the prestigious Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow founded DOXA in 2017 and it quickly became known for investigations into corruption and systemic sexual harassment in Russian universities.

HSE revoked DOXA’s status as a student organization in 2019 after it voiced support for students who participated in opposition protests that year.


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