Lee Heidhues 3.16.2022
Putin’s Russian state apparatus is exercising the most draconian measures against its own citizens who have the courage to speak out against the War Crimes being committed in Ukraine. Fines and jail await those Russians of any age who speak out.
Three weeks into Putin’s assault on Ukraine and after thousands of arrests, Russian citizens are still taking to the streets in opposition to Putin’s inhumanity.
The only way Putin’s carnage against an independent nation will end is when the citizen’s of Russia bring this madness to a halt.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 3.16.2022
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine about three weeks ago, the police forces in Moscow and other cities have been cracking down on anti-war protests.
The Kremlin has restricted Russian citizens’ access to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to prevent the reports and images of war from reaching them. Media are banned from using the terms “Invasion” or “war” to describe what Putin is doing in Ukraine. Instead, they have been ordered to refer to it as a “special military operation.”
Regardless of these measures, thousands of anti-war protesters have rallied across Russia since the war started, risking consequences such as fines, detention, and imprisonment.
On March 4, the government implemented a set of rules that criminalizes anti-war protests, and independent reporting on the war. According to Human Rights Watch, the laws make it illegal to spread “fake news” about the Russian armed forces, to call for an end to their deployment. Those who disobey can face up to 15 years in prison.
But as the authorities’ tolerance for demonstrations and rallies shrinks, activists continue to protests against the war in Ukraine, in various forms.
“No to war” on TV screens
Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of a Russian state TV station, interrupted a live news program on Monday, chanting “Stop the war!” She held up a cardboard sign that featured the Russian and Ukrainian flags, shouted “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you.” Seconds later, the program was cut off.
In a video, recorded before her protest, Ovsyannikova urged Russians to join protests against the war and expressed regret for her part in spreading “Kremlin propaganda.”
“Russia is the aggressor country and one person, Vladimir Putin, solely bears responsibility for that aggression,” she said in the prerecorded video.
Ovsyannikova was arrested minutes after she stormed into the studio. She was released from custody on Tuesday and fined about 30,000 rubles (around $270). But she still awaits her trial, where she could receive a prison sentence.
A video went viral on social media last week, showing a woman being arrested by the Russian police for holding up a small piece of paper that reads “two words.”
The phrase “two words” (“два слова” in Russian) seems to hint at the forbidden slogan “no to war” (or “нет войне” in Russian).