VILNIUS – A Lithuanian court has sentenced a 67-year-old man to house arrest for publicly praising Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and the crimes of the Soviet Union against the Baltic nation.
The Vilnius District Court on Monday ordered Yuri Subotin to remain home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily for 14 months after being found guilty of breaking a law that criminalizes public support for crimes committed by the Soviet regime against Lithuania.
The court found that Subotin, a Lithuanian citizen of Russian origin, had posted several offensive online comments including one praising the deportations of Lithuanians into Siberia during the Soviet occupation of nearly 50 years.
“Thank you Stalin, Snieckus and the Soviet administration. Those who do not like being with Russia – get lost from Lithuania, you can go to America,” Subotin said in a comment under an article in an online portal.
Subotin pleaded not guilty and plans to appeal the verdict.
“Of course, I will appeal. I did not write it, it is not the first time someone is writing on my behalf,” Subotin told Baltic News Service.
He was found guilty under the article of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes public support to international crimes, Soviet or Nazi crimes against the Republic of Lithuania or its residents, denial or gross humiliation.
Such crimes can be punished by a fine, restriction of freedom, arrest of up to two years in prison.
Subotin had registered for the 2014 presidential race.
Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940-41 and from 1944 until independence in 1991.
Associated Press / Baltic News Service