Twitch streamer gets 5 year prison sentence for criticizing Russian authorities

Virginia Glaze

A Russian Twitch streamer has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for criticizing her country’s armed forces due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Partnered Twitch streamer ‘Yokobovich,’ real name Anna Bazhutova, was arrested in 2023 after broadcasting witness accounts of alleged massacres supposedly carried out by the Russian military in Bucha, a city in Ukraine.

As per reports from the AFP and the Moscow Times, Bazhutova was found guilty of “spreading false information” about Russia’s military in June 2024, and now faces over five years in jail.

Partnered Twitch streamer Anna Bazhutova had been held in detention since August 2023 and was sentenced to five years in prison in June 2024.

Although sources give conflicting dates about the year of Bazhutova’s stream (which took place in either 2022 or 2023), her broadcast caught the attention of critics, who reported the streamer to police.

Following these complaints, Russian law enforcement searched her home and confiscated her electronics before placing her under arrest. Bazhutova has been in detention since August 2023, awaiting trial.

Her Twitch channel was banned in March 2023, although it’s uncertain if that specific broadcast was directly related to her suspension. A look at her channel shows the ban was due to violating the site’s terms of service, but anything else is unknown, as the platform doesn’t publicly comment on individual channel bans.

Article 207.3 of Russia’s criminal code levies a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for “public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” although in Bazhutova’s case, it seems she’ll only be serving a third of this.

Metrics taken from Twitch Tracker show that Bazhutova had over 9,000 followers and 50 average viewers, and hasn’t streamed since her channel was banned in March 2023.

This is far from the first time Russia’s criminal code has come up in relation to Twitch. In fact, the Russian government fined the platform $57,000 in January 2023 for failing to stop the spread of “fake  information” about its invasion of Ukraine, finding it “guilty of an administrative offense.”

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