Russian resistance from within
Authorities in Russia continue their repression to silence opposition within the country. More than 6,800 protesters have been detained for participating in anti-war rallies, including many journalists. Despite that, people continue to raise their voices demanding an end to the war.
While most of the world condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there is a protest movement growing inside the country as well. During the last few days police in Russia has detained 6,824 people for participating in anti-war rallies, according to the independent human rights organisation OVD-Info. The police have been detaining both protesters and the journalists who were covering the protests.
“Police detain people for participating in rallies, for being near the rally, for any anti-war or pro-Ukraine signs – flags, slogans, inscriptions “no to war” on masks and clothes. There have even been numerous detentions for wearing a “no war” hippie badge,” says Maria Chaschilova, coordinator of the legal help hotline at OVD-Info.
“This is not our war”
We see new petitions and protests formed every day. One of the largest in scale is the petition against the Russian invasion of Ukraine created on Change.org by Russian human rights defender Lev Ponomarev and written in Russian. As of now, it has collected over 1,132,000 signatures.
As of 2 March, over 4,585 teachers from across Russia have signed a petition against the war, calling it a “catastrophe.” “The war with Ukraine, which began on the night of February 23-24, is not our war,” – states the letter. “The invasion of Ukraine was started in the name of Russian citizens, but against our will.”
“Everyone will be screaming from pain, crying out to their mothers, in one, universal language.”
Other groups, such as Russian medical workers and psychologists, have written open letters to Putin demanding to stop the war with Ukraine. “Everyone will be screaming from pain, crying out to their mothers, in one, universal language. Any projectile or bullet, even if it does not reach its target and does not take someone’s life, still brings fear, panic, and pain. Pain from which the heart sinks. Everyone’s heart is hurting now,” says one of the letters.
As of 2 March in Russia, 272 municipal deputies, over 10,596 designers, over 14,470 students and professors, 17,141 art workers, over 6,150 scientists, over 6,542 architects, over 250 stand-up comedians, 581 NGO’s, over 30,150 IT specialists, over 11,654 medical workers signed similar anti-war petitions.
All these petitions are being constantly updated, the numbers of signees are growing.
“It is important to separate Russia the country, the Putin regime, and the people of Russia. A lot of ordinary, brave citizens are objecting this war, trying to protest in the ways that they can,” says Helen Rask, Director Eurasia Department, at Civil Rights Defenders.