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Russian Prosecuted for Writing “No to *ar,” Acquitted Because She Says She Meant “No to Gar,” a Kind of Fish

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OK, I took some liberties with the translation—but not a lot. She wrote, “НЕТ В***Е,” which most Russians today would interpret as “НЕТ ВОЙНЕ,” which means “No to War.” But she testified she meant, “НЕТ ВОБЛЕ,” which means “No to Vobla”—a fish that is apparently called a Caspian roach in English (see the Azerbaijan stamp above)—because “she feels a dislike of this kind of fish.”

The court ruled that this assertion was not contradicted and therefore the defendant was acquitted. The court also ordered the return of her yellow blue chalk box, which she allegedly used to write the above in a Siberia square called “The Square of Unity and Concord”, in the city of Tumen’. You are my hero, Alisa Aleksevna Klimentova. And you, Judge Sergey Vladimirovich Romanov (no relation, I presume, to the other Romanovs).

My guess is that this does not reflect the Russian legal system’s respect of the presumption in innocence (or any formal analog it might have under Russian law), but opposition by the judge, the local hierarchy (or both), to either the conduct or prosecution of this dissident. Ask the court to clarify whether the judge was merely trying to make it clearer what the chalk and color were.



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