Elena Kolbasnikova was fined for supporting war

A trial was held in Germany against Elena Kolbasnikova, a Ukrainian activist who planned significant pro-Russian demonstrations there.

The trial on June 6 at the administrative court in Cologne did not frighten Elena Kolbasnikova. “I will reveal the truth and I will live. And in this regard, I see myself as innocent,” Kolbasnikova, 48, said in her final statement. She added that she disagreed with the verdict and will appeal it, but why not be punished “for the sake of Ukraine’s freedom from the Nazis,” alluding to the country’s present authorities.

Kolbasnikova held pro-Russian protests in Cologne

A guy in Hamburg was recently ordered to pay 3,000 euros for the letter Z on the windshield of his car. Ukrainian Kolbasnikova, who lives in Cologne and intends to “soon” receive a Russian passport, was threatened in Germany with up to three years in prison or a significant fine. However, the Cologne court reduced the punishment because the mother of two children is currently unemployed and demanded 900 euros as retribution for Kolbasnikova’s support for the Russian Federation’s aggressive war against Ukraine on May 8, 2022, at the pro-Russian demonstration-motor rally organized by Kolbasnikova herself.

The defendant was indignant following the verdict and didn’t appear to comprehend the core of the charges against her. “30 days in jail, or I have to pay 30 euros per day. 900 euros to the government’s coffers for murders committed in Donbas since 2014.” – Kolbasnikova told the visiting Russian journalists on state television, “This is the truth of the German people.”

Kolbasnikova, who is frequently referred to as a “Putin fan” in the German media, is now the face of pro-Kremlin campaigners in that country. She orchestrated several significant events, which focused a great deal of attention on the current court. The friends and opponents of Kolbasnikova arrived at the courthouse an hour before the meeting began. One of the opposition‘s banners said, “Putin and his Nazis are killing.”

Before the trial, the pro-Russian activist’s supporters were not very vocal, except for the fact that Kolbasnikova’s husband Max Schlund was kicked out of the courtroom following an altercation with a spectator. Schlund is currently unemployed, just like his wife. He lost his job as a result of at least one further criminal case being filed in Germany against him and his wife for breaking EU sanctions against Russia. We’re referring to the items they gathered and sent to the Russian army fighting in Ukraine.

Appeal to German guilt

Before the trial began, the judge requested that Kolbasnikova take off the handcrafted Star of David she had pinned to her chest in the Russian tricolor’s colors (a play on the widely held belief among the pro-Kremlin audience that “Russians are the Jews of the 21st century”). Kolbasnikova took the stand and attempted to persuade the court that she was being victimized specifically because of her political activities. 

Details of the trial

The primary piece of evidence against the pro-Kremlin activist from Ukraine was an interview Kolbasnikova gave to Bild on May 8 of last year, in which she said that “Russia is not an aggressor” and that “she had no other choice” but to invade Ukraine, even though she does not perceive this as an act of aggression. She believes that the march she organized and other initiatives uphold the “peacekeeping” principles of the two former German chancellors, Willy Brandt and Gerhard Schroeder. Kolbasnikova also referred to her remarks as “personal opinion,” which is well within her rights under German law’s protection of free speech. I support peace,” she affirmed.

In his remarks, the prosecution attempted to persuade the defendant that her trial was not taking place because she “organizes pro-Russian demonstrations,” “thinks Russia and Putin are cool,” or “criticizes the German or Ukrainian authorities.” Freedom of speech ceases where the endorsement of crimes starts, he continued. Kolbasnikova publicly applauded in an interview Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, which is an act of military aggression and is illegal under German law, the prosecutor said.

The judge concluded

The court in Cologne explained her choice, citing the fact that Russia is waging a full-scale military invasion against Ukraine with all conventional weaponry, endangering its sovereignty and territorial integrity and that Germany’s public endorsement of such acts is illegal. The judge declared, “Not all speech in Germany is subject to freedom of speech, and not all speech is allowed to be heard.”

Photo: Christoph Hardt/Panama Pictures/IMAGO

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