Russian woman convicted of ‘desecrating’ grave of Putin’s parents

Irina Tsybaneva, 60, left a note on the grave of Putin’s parents that said they had raised a ‘monster and a murderer’.

Irina Tsybaneva, 60, stands in a courtroom in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, May 11, 2023. Tsybaneva was charged with desecrating a grave after she left insulting words on the grave of Russian President Vladimir Putin's parents last October. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Irina Tsybaneva, 60, stands in a courtroom in St Petersburg, Russia, on May 11, 2023 [Dmitri Lovetsky/AP]

A 60-year-old Russian retiree was given a two-year suspended sentence after being found guilty of desecrating the grave of President Vladimir Putin’s parents when she left a note at the burial site that said they had “brought up a monster and a murderer”.

The court on Thursday found Irina Tsybaneva from St Petersburg guilty of desecrating the Putins’ burial place motivated by political hatred.

The retiree said she was motivated by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Prosecutors had sought a three-year suspended sentence for Tsybaneva, who in October was charged with desecrating the Putin family plot in St Petersburg with a note referring to Putin’s deceased mother and father as “parents of this maniac”, independent news sites reported.

“Death to Putin, you brought up a monster and a murderer,” the note said, urging the deceased parents to “take him with you, he’s causing so much pain and trouble”, according to Novaya Gazeta Europe.

“The whole world is praying he would die,” the note said.

Tsybaneva’s lawyer said she did not plead guilty because she had not desecrated the grave physically or sought publicity for her action.

The retiree – who was initially placed under house arrest and prevented from going online and banned from visiting the Serafimovskoe Cemetery in St Petersburg – does not plan to appeal the verdict.

Tsybaneva told the court she wrote the note after she watched the news about the war in Ukraine, news outlets reported.


“After seeing the news, I was overwhelmed by fear, I felt very unwell,” Tsybaneva told the court, according to Novaya Gazeta.

“The fear was so strong that I could not cope with it, and this is possibly my fault. I barely remember writing it [the note], I don’t have any recollection of the text itself. I realise that I succumbed to my emotions and committed an irrational act. I am sorry that my actions could offend or affect someone,” she said.

Tsybaneva also said she was certain her note would not be noticed because it was “rolled in a small tube and did not attract any attention”, the news organisation added.

Also on Thursday, a Russian military court sentenced Nikita Tushkanov, a history teacher from Komi in northeast Russia, to five and a half years in prison for comments he made about last year’s explosion on the Kerch bridge linking Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula to mainland Russia.

Tushkanov was found guilty of justifying “terrorism” and “discrediting” the Russian army for publishing a social media post in October calling the bridge explosion “a birthday present” for Putin.

The Kremlin has unleashed a sweeping campaign of repression aimed at criticism of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has seen critics, in addition being fined and sentenced to jail, being fired from jobs, blacklisted and branded by the authorities as “foreign agents” in Russia.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies