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Jessica Corbett: Over 1,000 Russians Arrested for Protesting Putin’s Ukraine Invasion

“This is an unprecedented atrocity, for which there is no and cannot be any justification,” said nearly 200 officials from cities across Russia.

Critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-awaited invasion of Ukraine on Thursday joined open letters and took to Russia’s streets to protest the ongoing air and ground assault—resulting in more than 1,000 arrests.

The protests within and beyond Russia came as Moscow claimed Russian strikes took out at least “74 ground facilities of Ukraine’s military infrastructure.”

“Nothing good will come out of this,” a 36-year-old computer programmer, Dmitry, told The Moscow Times in the Russian capital. “We don’t need war, we need to be able to come to agreements.”

Ilya Matveev and Ilya Budraitskis noted Russians’ lack of support for war in Jacobin:

One reassuring sign is that no clear support for war is discernible in Russian society. According to the Levada Center, the last independent polling agency (itself branded a “foreign agent” by the Russian government), 40% of Russians do not support the official recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” by the Russian authorities, while 45% of Russians do.

“While some signs of ‘rallying around the flag’ are inevitable,” the pair added, “it is remarkable that despite complete control over major media sources and a dramatic outpouring of propagandistic demagoguery on TV, the Kremlin is unable to foment enthusiasm for war.”

The Times reported that “solo pickets—essentially the only legal form of public protest in Russia—in protest of the war have taken place from the southern city of Tolyatti to the Far East city of Khabarovsk.”

The independent monitoring group OVD-Info tweeted Thursday that “more than 1,234 people have already been detained in 49 Russian cities.”

Footage of protests and resulting arrests in Russia circulated on social media.

Sharing a video of police in the Russian capital, Emma Burrows of the U.K.’s ITV News tweeted that “there is such a sense of horror and heartbreak in Moscow tonight.”

Andrew Roth, Moscow correspondent for The Guardianposted photos of one person who wrote “No to war” on his jacket and another who held up a sign that said “Fuck war”—as well as video of the second man being arrested for the display.

The Telegraph‘s Moscow correspondent, Nataliya Vasilyeva, similarly said that police there were snatching people on the streets who chanted “No to war.”

Vasilyeva reported on some arrests and protests Wednesday, not long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At least six people were detained for a demonstration in Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square Wednesday afternoon—including Grigory Sheyanov, a 45-year-old pediatrician.

“I’m against Russia’s militarist stance. I came out for peace,” Sheyanov told The Telegraph. “What’s happening now is a preparation for a big war.”

Putin announced the military assault of Ukraine early Thursday, after recognizing the self-declared People’s Republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk (LPR) following years of conflict between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in those territories.

The Russian arm of the youth-led climate movement Fridays for Future made clear in a series of tweets Thursday that “we, FFF Russia activists, oppose any military conflicts.”

“We don’t want to be associated with blood and death because we never wanted that for us and our friends. The actions of our government are not our actions,” said the group. “Fridays for Future Russia has always opposed, is, and will continue to oppose any military action, no matter how ‘fair’ they are portrayed by state propaganda. War is not fair.”

The Moscow Times pointed out that public figures such as Russian celebrities and reporters also voiced opposition to the war—including over 150 Russian scientists and scientific journalists who signed an open letter against Putin’s “unfair and frankly meaningless” military action.

“By unleashing the war, Russia has condemned itself to international isolation and the position of a rogue state,” the letter says, warning that “Russia’s isolation from the world means the further cultural and technological degradation of our country.”

Nearly 200 officials from Russian cities signed on to another open letter that states, “We, the deputies elected by the people, unreservedly condemn the attack of the Russian army on Ukraine.”

“This is an unprecedented atrocity, for which there is no and cannot be any justification,” the municipal deputies’ letter adds. “Hopes for a good life in Russia are crumbling before our eyes.”

Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov highlighted what many viewed as Putin’s thinly veiled nuclear threat directed at members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or any other nations that may try to intervene.

“The commander-in-chief spins the ‘nuclear button’ in his hands like a keychain from an expensive car,” said Muratov. “Is the next step a nuclear salvo?”

“I cannot interpret Vladimir Putin’s words about a retaliatory weapon in any other way,” he said. “Only the anti-war movement of Russians can save life on this planet.”

First published in Common Dreams; licensed under Creative Commons.

Police detain a demonstrator during an anti-war protest in Moscow on February 24, 2022. (Photo: Sergei Savostyanov/TASS via Getty Images)

10 comments on “Jessica Corbett: Over 1,000 Russians Arrested for Protesting Putin’s Ukraine Invasion

  1. Arcadia Woodcraft
    February 25, 2022

    We must evolve as a species if we are to avoid a global disaster that will destroy us all and our magnificent planet. Shun the gun and reject sociopathic leaders. Teach peace and stop the glorification of war and greed. We can make a better future if we try.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      February 25, 2022

      Thanks, Arcadia. I couldn’t agree more. — MS

      Liked by 2 people

    • fgsjr2015
      February 25, 2022

      Collectively, human existence is still essentially analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much they should have to pay for it — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the wealthiest passengers) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated. As a species, we can be so heavily preoccupied with our own individual little worlds, however overwhelming to us, that we will miss the biggest of crucial pictures.

      Due to the Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mindset, the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — my kids are alright?’ or ‘What is in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support programs for other people’s troubled families?’ While some people will justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when such progress is so desperately needed (i.e. trying to moderate manmade global warming thus extreme weather events). And it seems this distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arcadia Woodcraft
        February 26, 2022

        If the species survives it will likely look back on this time as a dark age. Evolve (modify) or perish? New forms have appeared before. Or we all dissolve and disappear back into the carbon cycle with a notable layer of weird chemistry on top.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Vox Populi
          February 26, 2022

          Seeing our time on Earth as “weird chemistry” is original and interesting. I need to think about the concept. Thank you.

          Liked by 2 people

        • fgsjr2015
          March 4, 2022

          And, indeed, we all should remain aware of the very unfortunate aspect of human nature, especially that in regards to the masses, involving the politics/ideology of scale. It’s something that has pretty much convinced me that genocidal campaigns will be repeated if they’re not stopped in their tracks before charismatic demagogues are actually voted into power.

          Also, the late social scientist Stanley Milgram (Obedience Experiments, etcetera) was aggressively criticized, including by his own academic peers, for his research findings strongly indicating that horrific atrocities, perhaps even another Holocaust, conceivably could be repeated if collective humankind — which very much includes us Western nation ‘good guys’ — stubbornly refuses to acknowledge certain flawed social aspects of our general pass-the-buck human nature (notably that of, ‘I am/was just doing my job’). Yet, unless I’m mistaken, his work is still openly discussed with considerable validity upon each new mass atrocity.

          With some of Milgram’s relatives having been Holocaust victims/survivors, I can understand why he wanted something solidly positive, a silver lining of sorts, learned and practiced as a result of that immense death-camp suffering and loss of life.


      • Vox Populi
        February 26, 2022

        Thank you for this. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Patricia A. Nugent
    February 25, 2022

    This is the kind of country Trump admires and envisions here – where dissidence is silenced. So we must rise up like these brave souls.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sean Sexton
    February 25, 2022

    It is heartening to read this. Maybe Putin can somehow lose his tenure as their leader. Another Russian revolution? They are a citizenry capable of it. We’ve all been staring around bad leaders at one another from afar in morbid disarray. Human Civilization is presently, perhaps more than ever, a “Wilderness of Mirrors.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • fgsjr2015
      February 25, 2022

      Though I’m no Stanley Milgram, I still feel that what humankind may need to suffer in order to survive the long term from ourselves is an even greater nemesis (a figurative multi-tentacled extraterrestrial, perhaps?) than our own politics and perceptions of differences — especially that of race — against which we could all unite, attack and defeat.

      During this needed human allegiance, we’d be forced to work closely side-by-side together and witness just how humanly similar we are to each other. (Albeit, I have been told that one or more human parties might actually attempt to forge an allegiance with the ETs to better their own chances for survival, thus indicating that our wanting human condition may be even worse than I had originally thought.)

      Still, maybe some five or more decades later when all traces of the nightmarish ET invasion are gone, we will inevitably revert to those same politics to which we humans seem so collectively hopelessly prone — including those of scale: the intercontinental, international, national, provincial or state, regional and municipal.

      P.S. I’ve heard that, before non-white people became the primary source of newcomers to North America, thick-accented Eastern Europeans were the main targets of meanspirited Anglo-Saxon bigotry. As a 1950s immigrant to Canada, my (now-late) father experienced such mistreatment. Therefore, hypothetically, if Canada were to revert back to a primarily-white populace, if not some VDARE whites-only utopia, I wouldn’t be surprised if Eastern Europeans with a thick Slavic accent would inevitably again become the main target of the dominant Euro-Canadian ethnicity.

      Liked by 1 person

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