Police detained more than 4,300 people in over 50 cities across Russia on March 6, as activists mounted a second wave of protests against the invasion of Ukraine. From Moscow and St. Petersburg to the Siberian city of Irkutsk and the Pacific port of Vladivostok, thousands of unpermitted demonstrators chanted “No to war!” and “Shame on you!”—a message directed at President Vladimir Putin. In the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, a mural glorifying Putin was defaced—prompting a charge by the riot police. The independent monitoring group OVD-Info reports that over 8,000 have now been arrested in anti-war protests across Russia since the Ukraine invasion was launched last week.
Since the first wave of protests on Feb. 25, the Duma has passed a law imposing a 15-year prison term for anyone who opposes the war—or even calls it a “war.” Reporters have been arrested for defying the edict that the invasion only be referred to as a “military operation.”
“The screws are being fully tightened—essentially we are witnessing military censorship,” OVD-Info’s Maria Kuznetsova told Reuters by telephone from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. (Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC News)
On March 4, the entire staff of Russian television station Dozhd (also online in English as TV Rain) resigned live on-air after declaring “No to war” in their final broadcast. The decision was taken by the staff and management alike after authorities suspended the channel’s operations over its coverage of the Ukraine war. (NDTV)
Anti-war protests have also spread to Belarus, which is serving as a staging ground for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Photo: protesters in St. Petersburg. Sign reads “In war we will lose everything.” Via OVD-Info
Russia: hundreds more arrested in anti-war protests
More than 750 people were arrested in cities across Russia on March 13 for protesting against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its third week. Independent monitoring group OVD-Info counted demonstrations in 37 Russian cities. About half of those arrested were in Moscow. (Al Jazeera)
Russia media law creates ‘total information blackout’
The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a statement March 11 raising alarm about Russia’s recent adoption of a punitive “fake news” law. According to the experts, the law places Russia under a “total information blackout” on the war in Ukraine. (Jurist)
Russian war resisters defy law banning dissent
The street protests in Russia have subsided in the face of overwhelming repression. But anarchist-spirited anti-war reality-hackers finding creative ways to get around Putin’s draconian law banning all protest and dissent. One group, Feminist Anti-War Resistance, has been stealthily replacing price tags on supermarket shelves with messages about Russian atrocities in Ukraine. One woman, Aleksandra Skochilenko, was arrested in connection with such activitiy in St. Petersburg, and faces up to 10 years in prison for “discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.” (Amnesty International, MSNBC)