Moscow police told Russian state media on Tuesday they have arrested a man who tried to set the tomb of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin on fire with a Molotov cocktail.
A Moscow law enforcement official told the state-run Tass news service:
The incident occurred at about 10:00 p.m. Moscow time yesterday, when an unbalanced man approached the Lenin Mausoleum and threw a bottle filled with flammable materials in the direction of the structure. No blaze ensued. Police promptly apprehended the attacker.
Tass said the man was cited for “refusing to obey police orders” and might be charged with “criminal hooliganism.”
Hooliganism is Russia’s blanket charge for disorderly conduct. “Criminal hooliganism” is a more serious offense leveled at disorderly persons who employ weapons, including firebombs, or are accused of acting for political or ideological reasons. Criminal hooliganism can be punished by up to seven years in prison.
Several news channels on the encrypted messaging site Telegram said the accused vandal is a 37-year-old man from the city of Chita in eastern Russia. Various accounts said the man either missed Lenin’s tomb with his firebomb toss, causing the weapon to detonate on the street, or the bomb shattered against the side of the tomb without catching fire.
According to one Telegram post, the accused was previously detained in Moscow’s Red Square while carrying two Molotov cocktails but was not seriously punished.
Firebombs have been employed on several occasions by protesters opposed to leader Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The targets of such bombings are often military recruitment centers. In June, anti-war activist Vitaly Koltsov was sentenced to six years in prison for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a bus carrying National Guard troops to Moscow.