“No to the Vobla!”
An acquittal — what would that mean?
Only the deaf have probably not heard of the vobla story. And even he has read it. Just in case: in Tyumen, the court agreed with the defendant’s argument that the phrase “No v***e!” meant “No v***e!” — to which the defendant has an aversion to fish, and acquitted her of the charge of discrediting the army.
That’s technically correct. A person that doesn’t get caught is not a thief. A person is considered innocent until proven guilty, even if no one has the slightest doubt that this person is in fact guilty. But such cases are normal in democratic countries where the law is above common sense, because if today you give in to common sense in a little, tomorrow you will give in in a lot. Even there, if it is very necessary to imprison a person, they will find something to get to the bottom of. In the US, gangsters who were not proven guilty of robbery or extortion were imprisoned for not paying taxes. In the Russian Federation, the law is of secondary importance, and the judge has little say in the matter, he knows what is expected of him at the top, and if he doesn’t, he finds out and imposes the required sentence.
And yet a judge in his right mind and mind delivers a verdict of acquittal. And on such grounds. Knowing full well that it would become a household word, that the phrase “No to the Vobla!” would become, as they say now, a meme.
One of two things: either he was told or at least allowed to do so from above, or he has suddenly decided to do it himself by breaking a telephone law. What’s more. There is an even higher authority above his superiors. Therefore, if the judge’s boss told him to find the defendant not guilty, it means that this same boss either received such an order from his boss, or simply “gave up” on the latter.
In other words, somewhere along the line the government is not just sympathetic to the opponents of the war, but willing to look the other way. Why should they? Either the regime is afraid of the people and does not want to make them angry once again, thus letting off steam; or the opposition appears in that power, dissatisfied with the war, causing trouble not only for ordinary people; or, finally, some representatives of that very power feel the approaching collapse of the regime with their fifth finger and are preparing a good reputation for themselves, from the point of view of the new regime.
— What were you doing before the overthrow of Putin’s clique?
— I helped the regime’s fighters. Got them acquitted in court.
Considering that bureaucrats and the security and law enforcement agencies have a very sensitive organ (although at the same time the strongest and most invulnerable one), the latter option is the most preferable. Although I suspect that the reason lies in the first option.
 Translator’s note: The phrase “Nyet voynye” (“No to war”) is used by the Russian anti-war movement.
 Translator’s note: The phrase “Nyet vobla” (“No to fish”) is a play on words. “Vobla” refers to the caspian roach.