How a Pro-Ukraine WiFi Name ‘Slava Ukraini’ Led To the Arrest of a Russian Student Oleg Tarasov

WiFi Name 'Slava Ukraini' Led To the Arrest of a Russian Student Oleg Tarasov

The student’s act of renaming his Wi-Fi network to “Slava Ukraini” reflects support for Ukraine, which has been a contentious issue amid Russia’s war in the country. The use of this slogan as a form of protest likely prompted authorities to take action, resulting in the student’s sentence of 10 days in jail. The incident highlights the extent of control over expression in Russia, where even seemingly innocuous actions like renaming a Wi-Fi network can lead to legal repercussions.

Oleg Tarasov renamed his WIFI router to “Slava Ukraini”

Oleg Tarasov, a student at the Moscow State University, had renamed his WIFI router to “Slava Ukraini,” which means “Glory to Ukraine” – a tribute which has become popular amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to independent Russian Telegram news channel Ostorozhno Novosti.

State-run RIA reported that Tarasov has been found guilty of propaganda and the “public display of Nazi symbols” by the Nikulinsky District Court of Moscow on Thursday, and authorities confiscated his router.

It’s concerning that renaming a Wi-Fi network with a pro-Ukrainian slogan could be equated with the public display of Nazi symbols in the eyes of the court. This decision reflects a broad interpretation of laws against propaganda and symbols, which could have serious implications for freedom of expression in Russia. Additionally, the confiscation of the router adds to the severity of the punishment, further restricting the individual’s access to communication and information.

Russia has cracked down heavily on dissent since invading Ukraine. Over 260 people are jailed for anti-war views (according to human rights group OVD-Info), with over 20,000 detained. The death of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny in February underscored this repression. Supporting him is risky, as hundreds were arrested for attending memorials – the most at a political event in two years.

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