Pro-Russia American Filmmaker Dies in Jail

Pro-Russia American Filmmaker Dies in Jail

( – A Chilean-American documentary filmmaker known for his ardent support of Russia died in a Ukrainian jail on January 12.

The death of director and YouTube star Gonzalo Lira, 55, was confirmed by the State Department. Officials offered their condolences to those he left behind. They also offered to provide assistance to his family. The cause of his death has not been verified.

Lira was arrested for perpetuating Russian propaganda while in the country. Officials confirmed he violated Ukraine Article 463-2. He was also accused of spreading false information, including calling the Ukrainian government “neo-Nazi.” He claimed on X that he was beaten and tortured by other inmates during his incarceration. The Ukrainian military denied those allegations.

Lira was originally born in Burbank, CA. He spent much of his childhood years in southern California, but also moved to Chile and other parts of central America during his youth. His parents were originally from Chile.

He gained an international audience after posting social media videos that supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early in 2022. His videos praised the aggression by Vladimir Putin and referred to Ukrainian President Volodymry Zelenskyy as a “cokehead.”

Lira was originally arrested in May 2023. However, he was released on conditions that required him to stay in the country. He posted a video late in 2023 while only five kilometers away from Hungary’s border. In that video, which would be his last, he predicted his “certain” death if he were detained again. He also said that he spent two days riding his bike to the border to seek political asylum. He was arrested shortly after.

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