Dual US-Russian citizen sentenced to 3.5 years in Russian prison for social media posts

A dual U.S.-Russian citizen who once lived in New York City was sentenced Wednesday to 3.5 years in Russian prison for social media posts.

Yuri Malev admitted in St. Petersburg court that he made the posts, according to Russian authorities.

Malev was accused of mocking the patriotic Saint George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military pride. In one post on the social network Odnoklassniki, Malev posted a picture of the ribbon on a corpse and captioned it, “How to wear the Saint George’s ribbon properly,” Russian officials said.

Another post mentioned the ribbon and contained obscene language, according to Russian police. Malev was accused of “humiliating the honor and dignity of World War II veterans.”

Malev will serve his sentence at a minimum-security facility, according to court documents.

He was referred to as a former security guard at MatchPoint NYC, a fitness club in Brooklyn.

Since launching the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have cracked down on any dissent or criticism of the Russian military. Many have been charged under the crime of “rehabilitating Nazism,” which Malev was convicted of.

Putin has routinely accused Ukraine of having a “neo-Nazi” regime, even though the democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish and had relatives killed in the Holocaust.

Several Americans and dual nationals have been arrested in Russia since the beginning of the war, including Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe journalist Alsu Kurmasheva.

Additional detainees include Russian-American ballerina Ksenia Karelina and Texan man David Barnes. Karelina was accused of treason over her own social media posts, while Barnes was convicted of child abuse in a case that was dropped stateside.