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“I will not fear ZEvil”– digest of Russian protests

12.05.2022    available: Українською
The Memorial volunteers

Photo taken from Telegram channel "Видимый протест"

Anti-war protests continue in Russia, and pressure is being put on those who oppose the war.

Peace! Labour! May!

  • The famous May Day slogan has become a reason for detentions this year. For example, Alexander Chirkov was detained in St. Petersburg because of a poster with this slogan. He was charged with violation of self-isolation.
  • In Izhevsk and Moscow, picketers with similar posters were released without charges.
  • The activist from Petersburg, Elena Osipova, demonstrated on 1 May with a poster saying "international solidarity", "no war" and "XXIcentury:  death of mankind due to war". Novaya Gazeta journalists Elena Lukyanova and Alexander Dushutin, who drove and photographed her, were detained. 
  • Also on May 1 the activist Anna Anisimova put a rope around her neck and chained herself to the fence in St. Petersburg in front of the TV set with the picture of V. Solovyov and inscription "Ztv".  

“That’s Not What They Were Fighting For”

  • In many Russian cities where the action “Immortal Regiment” (now seen as pro-governmental) being held, activists bring photos of WWII veterans with anti-war slogans and walk along the procession – “Grandfathers said: ‘Let there never be a war’”, “They didn’t fight for this”, “They didn’t want to repeat”, “They fought for peace” and others, As well some of them were holding portraits of Ukrainians who died this year. This action-inside-action is called “That’s Not What They Were Fighting For”.
  • Some activists make graffiti and flyers inspired by “That’s Not What They Were Fighting For” action.
  • In Saint Petersburg a city district council deputy Sergey Samusev was captured at the “Immortal Regiment” procession for holding a photo of a Holocaust survivor killed in Ukraine during Russian shelling.                                                      
  • In Nizhny Novgorod a huge banner “F*ck the War” was raised in front of the MIA Head Department.
  • The night before the Victory Day a graffiti appeared on a wall in Volgograd with a morbid message: rows of coffins and the words “The Zinc is Ours” (a reference to the 2014 slogan “The Crimea is Ours”) 
    Instagram PHILIPPENZO
  • Ekaterina Voronina carrying a picture of her relative saying “He fought for peace” arrested in suburban Korolyov during the “Immortal Regiment” parade/
  • One-man piquet held near Ministry of Defense in Moscow. The man was holding a poster “They fought for peace. Stop war”
  • People with white paper boats arrested in Ekaterinburg. They intended to “run” them on the Iset’ River. Paper boats were confiscated from them. Paper boats were to be a symbol of peace. 
  • News about all-Russia hacker attack on TV boxes “MTS”, “KION” and “VINK”  (Rostelecom) spreading in the Internet. TV series descriptions are now accompanied with messages about the war. 
  • Employees of the Lenta.ru online newspaper, without the consent of the management, posted more than ten articles with sharp criticism of Putin and the war in Ukraine. Here are some headlines: “Zelensky turned out to be cooler than Putin”, “Putin turned into a miserable dictator and paranoid”, “Russia abandons the corpses of its soldiers”, etc.
  • A man from Saint Petersburg projected a link «net.voine.info» onto one of the buildings of Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya street during the celebratory fireworks dedicated to Victory Day. Sergei Malinovsky, the activist, was detained. With this action, Sergey wanted to bring people’s attention to the website where he appealed to his fellow citizens to join the alternative fireworks planned for May 14. According to his opinion, the current regime arrogated to itself the celebration of May 9 and replaced the day of remembrance and sorrow with war worship and devastation.

   “Voyna – Zlo” 

Other actions continue to happen as well.

  • In St. Petersburg, the police detained the antiwar picketeer Timur Ismonov. He was picketing in front of the entrance to the Memorial Cemetery on Nepokorennye prospect, holding a poster saying "Voyna — Zlo" ("Vvar is Zevil").
  • Action "Three billboards" took place in the Moscow district of Izmaylovo. The activists put up 3 red anti-war posters: the main one read: "Mr. President, you will drown in blood!"
  • The artist Alisa Gorshenina performed a performance in an angel costume with the words "peace" in different languages of the peoples of Russia. 
    Photo by Alisa Gorshenina
  • Police in Moscow detained Ivan Rubnenkov with an anti-war poster in the form of a white-blue-white flag. The white stripes of the poster read "No to Fascism" and "No to War." He was charged with "discrediting" the Russian military.
  • In Novosibirsk, activists put up posters with pictures of two burning tanks with swastikas and half-swastikas ("Z") and the inscription "We defeated that fascism, we will also defeat this fascism. 
  • Graffiti appeared in St. Petersburg with the inscription "I will not fear Zlo [ZEvil]", referring to a psalm from the Old Testament.
  • Maria Revzina went out on a solitary picket with a poster: "My mother said that I can't be detained for these words, because Russia is a free country and Putin is the most worthy president. No to war!" According to her husband, Sasha Filipenko, she spent a long time trying to prove to her mother that Russia is a real legal disaster and you can't even publicly advocate for peace. As a result, she flew in from London and stood out on Nevsky Prospect with a poster. She was charged with "discrediting the military forces."
  • Sergey Lazarev, a pop singer, refused to perform in Lipetsk at the patriotic concert "For Zhe Russia". Earlier, he strongly criticized the war in Ukraine.
  • A man picketed in Perm was detained with a picket sign that said “We cannot be brainwashed by your propaganda, there are also humans there like us”.

The pressure 

However, repressions continue

  • In the Sverdlovsk region, Rezhevsk city court sentenced Alena Smyshlyayeva, a single mother, to six fines in the amount of 180 thousand rubles for "discrediting". The reason was anti-war posts on Facebook, which included the words "they bombed Kharkov", "the valiant army will wipe my ass", "occupiers", "troops commit crimes", "you call Russian soldiers orcs", and "don't go to war".
  • The searches happened in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region in apartments of five members of the "Peaceful resistance" group. They are charged with spreading "fakes" about the Russian army. The reason for this case to open was the publication in their page on Vkontakte.
  • Irina Nelson, a mother of four children from the village of Novaya Derevnya in Novgorod Oblast, was prosecuted under an article on calls to terrorism for her comments on VKontakte about the war in Ukraine. Under this article, she faces up to seven years in prison.
  • A retiree from Buryatia was arrested for 5 days after her request to remove Z from the surface of the bus. 
  • The Basmanny Court in Moscow arrested journalist Alexander Nevzorov without his presence in accord with the article for "fakes" about the Russian army. He had been publishing the information about the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol.
    Siloviki put politician Elvira Vihareva under surveillance due to her notification to hold a rally "For Peace" on May 9 in Moscow. She had told so in her Telegram channel. According to Vihareva, armed police officers are on duty under the door of her apartment. "They knock, call and really want to talk to the charming Elvira. That is, with me," said the politician.
  • At least ten people who had previously been seen at anti-war protests were detained at the Moscow metro stations with the help of a face recognition system.
  • In Moscow, activist Igor Fateyev was caught making an antiwar graffiti and detained; according to the police, he was sent to a psychiatric facility.
  • Searches and interrogations of activists and former members of youth movement ‘Vesna’ that started on May 07 still go on. They are charged with ‘offense against an individual and attack on the rights of the citizens’. The activists presume that the reason behind these searches was their antiwar campaign ‘That is not what they were fighting for’ arranged for the Victory Day that is celebrated yearly on 09/05. At least two criminal cases have been filed against Vesna members.
    The review was prepared by Memorial volunteers on the basis of the the following sources: ОВД-инфоХолодВидимый протест and others.
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