Criminal proceedings launched against pregnant Russian councillor, a Navalny ally

Investigators in Russia have opened a criminal probe against a pregnant city councillor in Siberia. Helga Pirogova, the councillor is one of the last allies of jailed Kremlin-critic Alexei Navalny, who are still in the country. The investigative committee says proceedings have been launched over spread of false information about the Russian army.

Pirogova is independent member of the city council in Novosibirsk, third largest city in Russia. 

The 33-year-old has spoken against Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. If she is convicted of charges against her, she faces up to three years in prison. According to her supporters, she is in her fourth month of pregnancy.

She was briefly detained on Thursday.

“They need an internal enemy that they can easily fight,” she told AFP on Friday.

Asked how she felt, she said: “I’d like to avoid this but what can you do.” 

When Pirogova took to Twitter in July to comment on a report about funerals of troops killed in Ukraine, she was accused of posting ‘false information’ by the investigators. 

She said she wanted to “revive” the troops to punish them for their role in Moscow’s offensive and then “let them go back to their graves.” 

Later, she deleted her tweet calling it “too emotional”

She said she wanted to draw attention to the fact that Russians in some provinces were so poor that they exclaimed on elaborate funeral arrangements made rather rather than mourning the dead.

“You can invite half the village!” she said in a Facebook post this week. 

In March, Pirogova caused an uproar when she turned up at a council meeting wearing a blue shirt and a crown of yellow flowers — the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

(With inputs from agencies)

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