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The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

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There’s always a choice. Anti-war activities in Russia, 23-27 August

21.09.2022    available: Українською
Memorial volunteers

Фото: інстаграм Весна Демократ Anti-war billboard in Angarsk (east Siberia): 40,000 killed, 100,000 wounded. What for? NO TO THE WAR! 150 days of the “special” operation have cost 1 trillion dollars

Anti-war billboard in Angarsk (east Siberia): 40,000 killed, 100,000 wounded. What for? NO TO THE WAR! 150 days of the “special” operation have cost 1 trillion dollars

There were two notable events towards the end of August.

Wednesday 24 August was Ukraine’s Day of Independence. It also marked six months since the Russian invasion. That day there were anti-war protests in towns and cities across Russia.

The following day, Thursday 25 August, the former mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, was arrested. Yevgeny Roizman has actively voiced his opposition to the so-called limited military operation in Ukraine.

Russia today is a dictatorial regime with strict censorship. Yet as a protestor from a small village in Central Russia wrote of recent attempts to bribe men into joining the army, “You can’t cure death with money. There’s always a choice”. (See report from Voronezh Region.)

*

Early on the morning of Wednesday 24 August law-enforcement officers came to search the apartment of former mayor Yevgeny Roizman. He has been charged with “discrediting” the Russian army (Article 280.3, part 1, Criminal Code). Mayor of Yekaterinburg from 2013 to 2018, 59-year-old Roizman is a well-known public figure who has openly and consistently opposed the war with Ukraine. FSB and police officers also came to search the Museum of the Nevyansk School of Icon-Painting [1] which Roizman organised and finances.

Residents of the city came to the Museum and to Roizman’s apartment to show their support for the politician. On Thursday, as a measure of restraint, a court forbade Roizman to visit public places, use any means of communication or receive postal correspondence for the next five weeks.

Yevgeny Roizman (2018 Wikipedia)

Yevgeny Roizman (2018 Wikipedia)

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The Sovetsk Town Court in the Kaliningrad Region(Northwest Russia) will examine criminal charges against local activist Igor Baryshnikov who is accused of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army. (The town’s pre-1945 name was Tilsit.)

The announcement of the charges states that the young activist uploaded 18 posts to his Facebook page that “discredit the Russian armed forces”. The posts concerned the shelling of the maternity hospital in Mariupol and the killing of civilians in Bucha (Kyiv Region).

*

A local man Nikita Chirkov was given a year’s imprisonment under Article 214 (Criminal Code) for committing an act of vandalism “motivated by political hatred” In St Petersburg,

On the pedestal of a monument to the 19th-century radical Nikolai Chernyshevsky, Chirkov drew “Z = swastika”: the letter Z had a horizontal line drawn through it. Investigators claim the letters caused more than 28,000 roubles worth of damage to the monument.

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Natalya Pivovarova, dean of the theatre studies faculty at the RussianInstitute for the Theatrical Arts (GITIS, Moscow) has been sacked because of her anti-war stance.

Наталія Пивоварова, фото: Андрій Гордєєв, Festival NET 2015 Natalya Pivovarova (2015, Festival Net)

Natalya Pivovarova (2015, Festival Net) © Andrey Gordeev
At first, it was suggested she resign of her own accord. When she refused to do so she was told that her contract with the Institute would not be renewed. Pivovarova has studied and taught at GITIS for a total of 48 years.

In a Novaya Gazeta interview (“You have to discuss Beslan, “Kursk” and the Nord-Ost theatre siege with young people”), Pivovarova said 

“I could never have imagined facing such disgrace in old age. My father and his brothers freed their country and Europe from fascism. How could I tolerate the war in Ukraine? How could I put up with the shame of this war and the horrors and crimes going on there?

“No normal person would tolerate it. I could not remain silent. Nor could I call on people to speak out when staff at State-funded institutions are being monitored for any ‘like’ online. There are a great many people of my opinion, who cannot accept the aggressive behaviour of this regime.”

*

In St Petersburg,Yevgenia Alatyreva was arrested when she made a one-woman protest next to Gostiny Dvor, the city’s 19th-century shopping centre. She herself informed OVD-Info about the incident.

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An anti-war billboard has appeared beside the highway in Angarsk (Irkutsk Region, east Siberia). It reads, “40,000 killed, 100,000 wounded. What for? No to the War! 150 days of the special military operation have cost 1 trillion dollars”.

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The Kovrov City Court in the Vladimir Region (Central Russia; pop. 134,000) finеd local resident Alexander Kurilkin 30,000 roubles for posting anti-war statements on the InContact social media. He was convicted of “discrediting” the Russian army (Article 20.3.3, Administrative Offences). During his trial, the activist said that he was not discrediting the army but exercising his right to free speech and calling for peace.

FSB and police officers drew attention to three publications.

The first contained a photo with the caption “No to the War”, and words addressed to the “sane people” of Russia:

“We didn’t start the war with Ukraine, but we must end it. Speak out! Silence will cost us dearly now. No to the War!”

A second post gave a link to a petition against the war. The third post was an appeal to the inhabitants of Kovrov:

“Do not keep silent about the killing of peaceful civilians. … There is no excuse or justification … for the invasion of ‘Russian’ forces.”

*

The Krasnodar edition of the “Sobaka.ru” periodical (South Russia) has removed a picture of the singer Manizha from its cover and also cut an interview with her from its current issue.

The cover was intended to mark the “Alexandrovsk Fortress” festival of Cossack culture which is due to take place in September in the town of Ust-Labinsk. Earlier the singer was announced as the event’s star performer. The publisher of Sobaka.ru did not comment on the change in the cover picture. Earlier Manizha spoke out against the war with Ukraine and was added, supposedly, to an unofficial list of “banned performers”.

*

On Friday 26 August, the set by the Spleen band at the “Music of a Strong Character” festival in Moscow was cancelled. The Kommersant Daily newspaper suggested this decision was linked to Spleen’s performance at the “Black Earth” festival in Voronezh, which the band dedicated to fellow musicians who recently left Russia.

*

“In the name of God, let the cries of those who suffer be heard, and let the bombings and attacks cease!” wrote Konstantin Jankauskas, a municipal deputy in Moscow, in a post published in March quoting the prayer of Pope Francis for peace and an end to the war in Ukraine. Jankauskas was charged with “discrediting the Russian army” and the case has already reached the court.

*

In Karelia (Northwest Russia) Ludmila Markova, an inhabitant of the small town of Olonets, was charged with “discrediting” the Russian army because of 12 posts on the InContact social media. In her posts Markova referred to the destruction of peaceful towns and cities in Ukraine by the Russian army; she talked about the shelling of the shopping centre in Kremenchuk; and wrote of the deaths of children due to military action and other events linked to the war.

*

On Tuesday 23 August, the Nikulin district court in Moscow fined archdeacon Andrei Kurayev 30,000 roubles. Prohibited from conducting services in church, Kurayev was found guilty of “discrediting” the Russian army (Article 20.3.3) for a post on LiveJournal social media in which he referred to Russian soldiers from Rubtsovsk in the Altai Region (south Siberia).

Андрій Кураєв, фото: idel.org Archdeacon Andrei Kurayev (Idel.org)

Archdeacon Andrei Kurayev (Idel.org)
Kurayev noted that the charges were brought after he was denounced to the authorities by a certain Sergei Chichin. The archdeacon added:

“To hinder future informants in their noble labours I have deleted the entries in my journal from 23 February this year to 1 August.

“Various lawyers have all told me the same: get out now. A second trial threatens a term of imprisonment. To be frank, I don’t want to go anywhere else.”

*

An inhabitant of Krasnoye, a town in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (north Urals) Konstantin Ledkov has been charged with “discrediting” Russia’s armed forces. He informed OVD-Info about the charges. The charge sheet says that he wrote the words “No to the War” on a shed at his allotment in such a way that they could be seen from the road.

*

Andrei Sozonyuk was arrested next to the building of the lower house of the Russian parliament in Moscow. He was standing outside the State Duma with a placard that read, “Six months of war! Are you used to it by now? Free Yevgeny Roizman”. One of Sozonyuk’s acquaintances informed OVD-Info about his arrest.

*

On Wednesday 24 August in the city of Krasnodar (South Russia; pop. 1 million) Marat Grigoryan was arrested after he stood outside the Regional administrative building in a one-man protest holding a placard “No to the War”. His wife informed OVD-Info about Grigoryan’s arrest.

*

Konstantin Mikhailov was arrested in the city of Kirov (Volga; pop. 507,000) when he staged a one-man protest carrying a placard that read “Ukraine is a sovereign State. No to the War”. He was charged with “discrediting” the army.

*

In the centre of Moscow on Pushkin Square Konstantin Zaruba was arrested for holding a solitary protest, carrying a placard reading, “For Peace, Freedom of Speech and independent Judges and Mass Media".

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Also arrested on Pushkin Square in Moscow was Vsevolod Pavlov. He stood there holding a placard with the words “No to the War” on a blue and yellow background.

*

In the Zaryade park in central Moscow Anton Rumyantsev was arrested by the police when he stood holding a blue and yellow flag.

*

On Wednesday 24 August, Alexander Mityurev was arrested in Moscow by police next to the Kremlin when he lay flowers in the Alexander Gardens at two of the monumental slabs commemorating Odesa and Kyiv as Hero-Cities of the Great Patriotic War [2].

*

Yet another “horrendous crime” was committed the same day, Wednesday 24 August, when a woman took a selfie of herself on the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge holding pale blue and yellow roses with the Moscow Kremlin in the background. She was arrested. (Her fingernails were also painted yellow and pale blue.)

*

On Wednesday 24 August in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan (Volga; pop. 1.1 million), Nafisa Khaertdinova was arrested when she held a solitary protest with a placard reading, “What do you think when you read the date 24th? Peace to the World”. She herself informed OVD-Info of her arrest.

*

On Wednesday 24 August, exactly six months since the war began, activists in Moscow held a demonstration in one of the city’s parks. They dyed the water in the “Music of Glory” fountain red and surrounded it with anti-war placards. One of the protestors was arrested and charged with vandalism (Article 214, Criminal Code). At present, he has been released from the temporary detention centre where he was held for more than 24 hours.

Фонтан Музика слави, фото: ФАС Music of Glory fountain (FAR)

Music of Glory fountain (FAR)
*

On Thursday 25 August, Julia Konstantinova from the Olkhovatka village in the Voronezh Region (Central Russia) held a one-woman protest opposite a banner inviting men to sign a contract and join the army.

Konstantinova’s placard read, “You can’t cure death with money. There’s always a choice”. She was arrested by the police who took her fingerprints at the police station and then charged her with holding an unlicensed public protest.

*

On the Square of Music in Tambov (Central Russia; pop. 262,000) where the “Songs on the River Tsna” festival was taking place local resident Olga Korolyova was arrested on Friday 26 August after she unfurled a placard bearing the word “Peace”.

Ольга Корольова, фото: ОВД-Инфо Olga Korolyova (OVD-Info)

Olga Korolyova (OVD-Info)

The young woman was taken to the paddy wagon where the police questioned her about her protest. It seems most likely that she will be charged with “discrediting” the Russian army. She was not even taken to the police station.

Korolyova had left two small children at home with her relations: one is nine months, the other two years old. The police did not want to let her go until she signed the record of her interrogation and for several hours Korolyova was detained in the paddy wagon. She was only released after the salvo with which the festival ended and was finally charged with infringing anti-Covid regulations.

*

On Friday 26 August the police arrested director and cartoonist Valery Kachayev. His colleague Oleg Kozyrev wrote about his arrest on his Facebook page.

According to Kozyrev, Kachayev was arrested because of his “anti-war captions”: “Thou shalt not kill” and “No to the War”. Writes Kozyrev, he was “arrested at night, face to the ground, and accompanied by the Royal Guard in several vehicles. There followed night-time interrogations and he has not yet been released from the Vyaznikovsky police station in the Vladimir Region [Central Russia].”

Kachayev’s wife Yelena was also arrested and then released without explanation. The couple was charged with “discrediting” the army.

*

In the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk (Kamchatka Region, Far East; 165,000) Victor Kholmansky was charged on Friday 26 August with “discrediting” the Russian army. The police arrested him at work because of his anti-war publications.

*

The Lenin district court in the city of Krasnodar (South Russia) fined Vitaly Nemtsev, coordinator of the Citizen Observer project, 30,000 roubles for a post on Facebook. His punishment is recorded by the Caucasus Realities website.

He was charged because of a publication containing the words:

“I want to ask the mothers and fathers, wives, children, brothers and sisters, of those who have died in Ukraine and those who are still fighting there: are you happy with all this? I can’t hear a reply. No to the War!”

This is the second time Nemtsev has been charged under Article 20.3.3 (Administrative Offences) with “discrediting” the Russian army. The court fined him 30,000 roubles for that offence as well.

*

The Elista City Court (Kalmykia, South Russia; pop. 103,000) will consider the accusation made against Caucasian Knot correspondent Badma Byorchiyev. He was charged for Instagram posts with the captions “Putin isn’t my president”, “No to the war in Ukraine. Bring the troops home!”

*

On Saturday27 August, police in Moscow arrested Alexander Kryukov on Pushkin Square because of the anti-war message on his tee-shirt. His wife informed OVD-Info about his arrest: they were out strolling in the city centre, she said.

Alexander Kryukov’s teeshirt (front)

Alexander Kryukov’s teeshirt (front)
Alexander Kryukov’s teeshirt (back)
Alexander Kryukov’s teeshirt (back)

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The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow has cancelled the staging of two one-act operas, Francesca da Rimini and A Florentine Tragedy, directed by Alexander Molochnikov. Their premieres were due to take place during the new season.

The theatre’s refusal to work with the director became known after Vladimir Urin, director of the Bolshoi Theatre, replied to a formal enquiry from Dmitry Kuznetsov, a State Duma deputy and secretary of the Working Group on Anti-Russian Activities in the Arts (GRAD).

In his official letter to Urin, Kuznetsov demanded that the contract for staging the operas be halted “until the attitude of the director [Molochnikov] to the special operation could be clarified”. In his social media pages Molochnikov spoke out against the war and was added to the list of “politically unreliable celebrities” compiled by GRAD.

*

On Saturday27 August, Igor Polev was arrested because of the phrase “No to the War” written on his motor vehicle. He has since been released and informed OVD-Info of the incident.

Polev parked his car by the Babushkinskaya metro station. Passers-by noticed the caption and summoned the police who drew up a certificate of examination but did not charge Polev with any offence. The materials would be sent, he was told, to the place where he was a registered inhabitant.

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A resident of the city of Yakutsk (Yakutia, Far East; pop. 355,000) faces criminal charges for “discrediting” the Russian army after he placed a banner with a text on the roof of a building in the city centre. The man had already been fined 30,000 roubles three times for the same offence.

*

On Tuesday 23 August, protestor Alexander Razvedsky was arrested on Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street in Moscow by police and FSB officers for holding a placard reading “No to the War”. He was taken to the Tver district police station and charged with “discrediting” the Russian armed forces.


NOTES (Wikipedia)

[1] Museum of the Nevyansk School of Icon-painting

The first private collection in Russia devoted to Old Believer icons, the Nevyansk Museum was set up byRoizman in 1999. It contains 600 items: icons, icon frames, crosses, books and wooden sculptures.

[2] Hero Cities

Between 1965 and 1985 twelve Soviet cities were singled out for their heroic resistance to the German invaders in 1941-1945: Brest and Minsk in modern-day Belarus; Kyiv, Sebastopol, Odesa and Kerch in Ukraine; and six cities in Russia.

With the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the slabs commemorating each Hero-City in the Alexander Garden form a memorial to the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).

SOURCES (text and photos)

Memorial volunteers assembled this digest from many sources, including websites (24 liveblog, 7x7 Horizontal Russia [E], Idelreal.org, OVD-Info News and Novaya Gazeta  (Europe) [E] ) and Telegram channels (Feminist Anti-War Resistance, OVD-Info Live and Vesna democrat).

Translation(& annotations), John Crowfoot

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