Former Russian soldier arrested on charges of foreign collaboration after return from Ukrainian captivity

Pavel Guguev, a former Russian soldier who returned from Ukrainian captivity, has been arrested in Russia for "collaboration with foreigners," according to the opposition online publication Mediazona. The outlet, which covers activities of the judicial, law enforcement, and penitentiary systems in Russia, believes authorities are targeting Guguev over an interview he gave to a Ukrainian journalist.

Guguev's case is being examined by the 235th Garrison Military Court in Moscow. The former prisoner of war is officially charged with violating Article 275.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, which deals with "establishment and maintenance of confidential cooperation by a Russian citizen with a representative of a foreign state, international or foreign organization to assist them in activities clearly directed against the security of the Russian Federation."

Details of the case were not disclosed by the court officials, citing investigation secrecy.

Guguev has faced the court previously. He was conscripted into the Russian armed forces from prison, where he had served 10 out of 12 years for murder, inflicting moderate harm, and theft (Articles 105, 112, and 158 of the Russian Criminal Code). During military actions, Guguev was captured and gave an interview to Ukrainian journalist Dmнtrщ Karpenko, featured on Vladimir Zolkin’s YouTube channel. In that interview, Guguev spoke about significant losses suffered by the Russian army.

He later returned to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange. While back in Russia, Guguev gave a follow-up interview with Karpenko, in which he said that he and other returnees from Ukrainian captivity were held for more than a month in a military unit near Moscow. Guguev, who is HIV-positive, also mentioned they were not provided with essential medications.

Guguev further added that in Russia, he was asked to claim that his first interview was given under duress.

According to the independent publication Holod, the day after Guguev’s second interview was published, phones were confiscated from everyone in his unit. They were also forbidden from going for walks and receiving parcels, and Guguev himself was placed in separate confinement for several days.

  War in Ukraine, Russia