Spontaneous Memorial on Ukrainsky Boulevard – Digest of Russian Protests
After a Russian missile hit an apartment block in Dnipro, killing over 45 civilians, including 6 children, Muscovites began bringing flowers and children’s toys to the monument to the Ukrainian writer Lesya Ukrainka on Ukrainsky Boulevard. A photograph of the destroyed building was also left at the monument. Soon the FSB began detaining people who, in their view, looked like “those sympathising”. In the video circulated on social media you can see how a police patrol detains a person who is simply walking his dog near the spontaneous memorial.
Similar spontaneous memorials have appeared in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg; Krasnodar; Omsk and other cities.
An unidentified woman activist , reading ‘Gundyai, thou shalt not kill?” opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Services in this cathedral are led by Patriarch Kirill [secular name: Vladimir Gundyaev] who is supporting Russia’s military aggression. After this, an activist hurled into Moscow River reading ‘V.V. [i.e. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin] is a dickhead”. Both protests were reported by Feminist Anti-War Resistance.
On New Year’s Eve some Russians actively passed on New Year ‘greetings’ to President Putin.
The case of Olesya Krivtsova
On 26 December, the police burst into the home of Arkhangelsk student Olesya Krivtsova. One of the officers was holding a sledgehammer. Krivtsova later told journalists that he had said that the sledgehammer was “greetings from the Wagner private military company’ who had recently posted a video showing the apparent ‘execution’ by sledgehammer of Yevgeny Nuzhin, an ex-prisoner turned Wagner fighter.
The police raid came after the young woman published a post about the explosion to the Crimea Bridge and pacifist posts on social media, and reposted this in a closed chat of students from her course.. For this she had been placed on Russia’s List of ‘Terrorists and Extremists’ on 10 December.
It was probably students from her university who denounced Krivtsova. Correspondence from the chat in which students discussed whether it was better to address a denunciation to the police or to the FSB appeared in the media.
Krivtsova is currently under house arrest. She is facing two criminal charges – accused of repeat ‘discrediting of the army’ and of ‘justifying terrorism’.
Kazan activist Alexander Fomichev held two anti-war protests. On 3 January, he held a picket near the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers building holding a placard reading “I, we, are for peace”. On 5 January, he went out by the Kazan Kremlin with a placard saying “War is declared by the old, but it is the young who die.” Both Alexander and his wife were detained.
Anonymous activists held anti-war pickets with a placard saying “Ceasefire for good” near the Dubrovka church in Leningrad oblast. This was in response to the call from Patriarch Kirill to call a ‘Christmas ceasefire’ on 6-7 January. Putin had signed the order for this ceasefire, however, in fact, the Russian army continuing shelling Ukrainian territory on the night of Christmas.
There were also single-person pickets in Novosibirsk; Buryatia; Moscow and Voronezh.
Unidentified individuals set light to one of the military enlistment offices in Bratsk (Irkutsk oblast), by hurling a petrol bomb.
The building of the military enlistment office in the Magdagachi urban-type settlement in the Amur oblast was also set alight. Someone broke a window at 5 a.m. and hurled a petrol bomb inside.
The pro-war ‘Z’ installation in Cheboksary has been finally destroyed. Cheboksary residents carried out at least two attacks on the installation which was in the form of the letter ‘Z’ in the colours of the St George ribbon. It was soon moved from the centre to the outskirts where it was once and for all destroyed.
In Zeya, a city in Amur oblast, partisans destroyed a ‘Z’ campaigning banner.
Protest by the Yabloko Party
At a meeting of the committees of the Legislative Assembly, Karelian deputy from the Yabloko Party, Emilia Slabunova called for money to be spent on building schools, not on the war. Following a denunciation from a deputy of the ruling United Russia party, administrative charges were brought against her for ‘fakes about the Russian army”.
At the same time, Slabunova, together with another Yabloko deputy, Inna Boluchevskaya, proposed introducing criminal liability for calls to use nuclear weapons. The article would envisage a fine, community work or imprisonment for up to 3 years. The media and civil servants could face a fine of up to one million roubles, or up to five years’ imprisonment.
Protest in the arts
Artists from the Praematerna Group which, according to its members, arose “to counter militaristic pathos”, carried out an anti-war protest near the monument from the Volgograd Memorial Complex to those killed in the Second World War. The activists stood opposite the sculpture “Motherland calls” with a sign reading “doesn’t call”. The group’s website contains the following commentary about the protest: “A mother doesn’t call to kill the innocent. A mother does not call to die in others; interests. A mother gives life and cares about the well-being of her children.”
On 9 January, an artist with the username @89gradusov posted a photo of a protest which took place back in the spring of 2022 on Instagram. At that time, in Moscow Region, a response appeared to ‘Slogan-1977’, the work of the ‘Collective actions’ Art Group. The 25-year-old work was a red banner with the words “I have no complaints about anything, and I like it all despite the fact that I have never been here and know nothing about these places.” The contemporary artists changed the words to “I am moaning with pain and I don’t like absolutely any of this despite the fact that I was raised and have lived here, and thought that I knew everything about these places.”
The report was prepared by Memorial volunteers from information in ; ; ; ; and other sources