“We can't clean ourselves from the blood” – digest of Russian protests
Last week protests against the war in Ukraine didn't happen just on the streets and squares. Deputies of Primorsky Region'slegislative assembly (in the Far East) tried to address Putin; musicians of the «SLOT» band displayed the animated word «PEACE» in different languages during the concert; a professor of Kazan University (Tatarstan) sent out an email with anti-war slogans to his colleagues; and an artist collected Russian statements about the war in a film which is now widely known in social media.
Activists are printing newspapers, preparing instructions for anti-war protests and even creating poetry in exchange for donations for Ukrainian refugees.
- Deputies of the Primorsky region's «ZakS» (local government body) from the CPRF party made an appeal to Vladimir Putin during a plenary meeting. They demanded to stop the «special operation» and to withdraw russian soldiers from Ukraine. They didn't find support from colleagues in the body, as they were demanded to stop the speech and disqualified from the meeting.
- Activists Anna Perova and Ludmila Annenkova made an action «We can't clean ourselves from the blood»: barefoot, in dresses with red stains, they stood out near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Moscow. Both were detained.
- Activist Ekaterina Vorobyeva from Mosow stood out with a placard «Don't get used to the war» near the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. She was detained and sent to OVD by police officers.
- In Novosibirsk, Anna Evtushenko stood out near the State University building with a placard saying: «The war is important for everybody. Loss of close ones, loss of future, Russia is an outcast country with a mask on its eyes. Open your eyes». She was fined.
- In the Moscow centre, activists left blooded children's toys on hand-rails, trees, and benches. The aim is to remind of Bucha tragedy and the deaths of civilians there, they say.
- During their performance in Moscow, musicians of «SLOT» band broadcasted on the big screen anti-war animation with the word «PEACE» in different languages.
- Artist Bela Uncleat filmed a video «I'm from Russia». She used 287 voice messages of Russians, in which people of different cities say their thoughts about the war.
- Rovshan Askerov, former player of the intellectual TV-show “What? Where? When?”, was arrested in absentia by a Moscow’s court on the case of rehabilitation of Nazism. The reason was a Facebook post, in which Mr.Askerov called marshal Georgy Zhukov as a thief and a loter due to he “exported captured property from Germany for his personal use”.
- The politician Ilya Yashin was fined 30 thsd rubles by a Moscow’s court under the law on discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The reason was the post with famous picture from the time of the Vietnam War, in which a girl hold a poster «Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity». Erdani Sandakov received a fine of 1000 rubles in the Zabaikalsky region. He reposted a caricature in which the Z-symbol is compared to a swastika.
- Elena Shukaeva, a local journalist, was fined 200 thsd rubles by a court in Ekaterinburg for 6 anti-war posts. “It’s an amazing story that russian citizens didn’t trust russian statistics of mortality from Covid-19, but they somehow believe in the war without death in the Russian army and the civilian population” one of the posts said. Others concerned a situation in Mariupol and Bucha and anti-war actions.
- In Tambov, a deaf-mute citizen of Ukraine received a fine of 30 thsd rubles for the image of a woman in national Ukrainian wear in the Viber messenger and the signature: "I'm beating a Russian soldier with a willow on a Great day." Another fine of 30 thsd rubles was received to a resident of Kurskiy region for a Facebook video criticizing the Government, that was published on 25th February.
- Singer Nargiz Zakirova was banned from entering Russia for 50 years. He was detained at Domodedovo airport and was deported to Uzbekistan. She has repeatedly spoken out against the war in Ukraine in her Telegram-channel.
- In Moscow, Michael Goryanikov was detained, who went to the Red Square in a picket with a poster "I have the right to speak." This man was with a child in a stroller, they were taken to a police department together. In Samara, Alexander Baiguzov was detained for a picket with a poster “Guys, let’s live friendly!” The man is charged under law for discrediting the Armed Forces of Russia.
- In Orenburg, an administrative case under the law on discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was brought against Konstantin Pchelinzev. This 52-years-old man came to a marathon wearing a T-shirt with the Ukrainian flag and inscriptions “No war” and “Hands off Ukraine”.
- In Abakan, the police detained a man for painting over an inscription on a banner in support of the Russian army and putting an anti-war inscription on the facade of the Khakass National Museum of Local Lore, where a light screen with the letter Z had previously appeared.
- A resident of Obninsk is threatened with a year in prison, she will be tried under the law on desecration of the national flag. According to investigators, she spat at the Russian flag on a parked car. Also, a resident of Kazan was fined for spitting, he spat at the letter "Z" framed by the St. George ribbon.
- Two protocols were drawn up against a lawyer from Kaliningrad, Maria Bontsler, under the article on discrediting the army due to her statements in court. The protocols claim that during open court hearings on March 21 and 23, the woman said, for example, “Russia attacked Ukraine.”
- In Yekaterinburg, the court fined 80-year-old pensioner Galina Bastrygina 30 thousand rubles. She handed out anti-war leaflets with an appeal not to believe the stories of "propagandists" on TV about the invasion of Ukraine.
Blocking Internet resources
Russian state media regulator Roskomnadzor continues to block personal pages and media accounts at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office. Even the homework checking service was affected this week. Soon there may be even more blocking – the State Duma has passed in the first reading a bill on a "mirror" response to the ban on Russian media outlets abroad.
- The homework help service Znanija (Russian for “knowledge”) was completely blocked because of the answer to one user's question: “What is happening in Ukraine after February 24, 2022?”. The answer, verified by an expert, said that Russia has begun a full-scale military operation against Ukraine since February 24, and it mentioned the number of refugees and humanitarian problems.
- The social network VKontakte blocks personal pages at the request of the Prosecutor General's Office. Last week, the account of Anna Cherepanova, a deputy of the City Duma of Novgorod and Chair of the Novgorod branch of the Yabloko party, and the personal page of Oksana Kharina, a social activist from Ukhta, were blocked. Cherepanova allegedly reposted the already well-known statement by Yury Shevchuk (leader and frontman of the group DDT), while Kharina not only posted many anti-war posts, but also spoke in support of Ukraine and unfurled a poster “No war” at an event marking the anniversary of the union between Russia and Belarus.
- The websites of Vot tak, Sukhumi.info and Interfax-Ukraine have been blocked. The list of banned resources also includes the website of writer and blogger Alexei Exler, the Russian-language version of the Latvian portal Otkrito, the pages of the charity project Unchain and the True Russia movement, the news outlets Realist.online and Lviv Portal, as well as an article about the war against Ukraine on the "fake" website of RIA Novosti and several discussions on a forum dedicated to psychology.
- Foreign publications have been affected as well: the websites of Helsingin Sanomat (Finland) and Politiken (Denmark) were blocked because they published news about Ukraine in Russian. The Prosecutor General's Office demanded that only these individual pages be blocked, but as a result, the entire websites were no longer open in Russia.
- The State Duma has passed in the first reading a bill on a "mirror" response to the ban on Russian media outlets abroad. According to the bill, the Prosecutor General's Office, in agreement with the Foreign Ministry, will be able to ban any foreign media outlet. And the Prosecutor General's Office and Roskomnadzor will also be able to shut down any Russian media for content with "fakes," "discrediting," and calls for protests within 24 hours.
Other legislative initiatives
- A draft law on criminal liability for calls for "actions against the security of Russia" was introduced to the State Duma. The bill proposes to introduce a new article on cooperation with special services of foreign states (from foreign organizations to PMCs), as well as liability for calls for "actions against security" and "obstructing the authorities ... from exercising their security powers”. The bill also plans to expand the concept and articles of "undesirable organizations," "espionage" and "treason," as well as to toughen the penalty under the article "Mercenary".