The mother of a young Latvian man, who is facing charges for brandishing a Russian flag during World War Two Victory Day celebrations in the EU country’s capital, has insisted that his arrest was groundless.
Alexander Stefanov was detained by police on May 10 near a monument commemorating Soviet soldiers in Riga. He had a Russian national flag with him, and was charged with justifying genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes.
The Latvian authorities said that this year, instead of celebrating Victory Day, the country would mourn those who died or were wounded in Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine. They banned the display of any Russian or Soviet symbols, warning that it would be considered glorification of “aggression,” and could lead to criminal and administrative liability.
Alexander’s mother Svetlana Stefanova told RT that her son could face up to five years in prison if convicted, but a lighter punishment like probation or a fine was also possible.