Prominent Russian nationalist Igor Girkin was convicted by a Moscow court on Thursday of inciting extremism and jailed for four years.
Girkin has accused President Vladimir Putin and the army’s top brass of not pursuing the Ukraine war effectively enough.
His case has been closely watched as an indication of how far the Kremlin will tolerate aggressive criticism of its war effort in Ukraine, something it calls a “special military operation”.
Girkin will be more familiar to Australians for his role in shooting down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.
Girkin was the commander of Russian separatist forces in the area at the time, which dubbed themselves the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Last year, a Dutch court found Girkin and two other men guilty of the murder of 298 people on board the flight, including 38 Australians.
They were tried in absentia.
Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, has publicly criticised those proceedings, although has previously said he feels some responsibility for the deaths.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong has previously called on Russia to hand Girkin and the others over to authorities in the Netherlands, so they can be punished for “their heinous crime”.
“I’ve been on that flight, and so have many Australians, and that these people could decide to down a civilian aircraft … with children on it is beyond words,” she said, in 2022.
The Kremlin criticised those proceedings and verdict in the Netherlands, saying it was unfairly trying to link Russia to the attack.