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In Russia, new forms of opposition against the “special military operation” in Ukraine


Some, like Valeria Pasternakova, a student from Moscow, rebellious locks and piercings, stick posters at the bottom of buildings ” Against war “ Where “Don’t be silent anymore”. Others, like St. Petersburg musician Alexandra Skotchilenko, replace price tags in a supermarket with tiny tickets spelling out “Love is stronger than war”. Arrested on April 13, she is in pre-trial detention until May 31.

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Famous figures resort to old methods and, such as Oleg Orlov, one of the leaders of the dissolved Memorial NGO, brandish a rebellious sign in Red Square: “Our refusal to know the truth and our silence make us conspirators of this crime. » More discreet, anonymous young girls have put on very political manicures, one nail painted in the colors of the Russian flag, another in those of the Ukrainian flag. Unknown people throw spots of paint on these “Z” posted everywhere by the authorities, symbols of the solidarity of the Russians with their army. Others have even clearer messages on their graffiti: “War Criminal Putin”.

Devious means

Almost everywhere in Russia, the silent minority opposed to the “special military operation” in Ukraine, according to the official understatement of the head of the Kremlin, finds indirect means of expressing themselves. Risky acts because, in each case, liable to legal proceedings, up to fifteen years in prison under the new law on “fake news” and attempts to “discrediting the armed forces”. Very severe, this text introduces a new crime, punishing the publication of information considered false on the Russian military forces. “The worst thing about this new law is that it creates further uncertainty: for lack of a true rule of law in Russia, no one can know in advance how it will be interpreted or applied”worries Elena Russakova, a 55-year-old psychologist but above all head of the municipal assembly of Gagarinskï, a district of Moscow that has become a symbol of these new forms of opposition.

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Nestled in the south-west of the capital, with a rather intellectual profile with several universities and institutes, this district bears the famous name of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Today, this municipality has distinguished itself from the rest of the capital and the country. 1er March, Elena Russakova and six other elected Soviet municipal, a very local assembly usually dealing with very concrete issues, voted an appeal to President Putin.

They asked him to reconsider his decision on the“special operation” and not to solve any problem by military means. “A simple message: stop this war. How do we continue to deal with playground sandboxes and municipal works financial management issues as long as these military fights continue? », asks Grigori Tolkachiov. This 52-year-old businessman and father is one of the seven rebellious elected members who, although independent of any party, are mostly from the liberal Yabloko movement.

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Legal proceedings

Once voted, their call was sent to the Kremlin and published on the official website of the Soviet, then widely on social networks. Three days later, no official reaction from the Kremlin apart from a simple formal receipt acknowledging receipt of the letter and assuring that it will be taken into account.

“Sweet irony…”, jokes Elena Russakova. It was she who, on March 4, received the real official answer: legal proceedings on the basis of the new law prohibiting the fact of “discrediting the armed forces”. Punished for the moment with a simple administrative penalty but with a heavy fine (150,000 rubles, or some €1,500, sum found in two days thanks to a kitty on the Internet), the elected official has not ceased to be congratulated for its action in the street and on social networks. “Ordinary citizens are afraid to voice their opposition to war. We are lucky enough to be able to say it with our elected status. It is important ! »explains Elena Russakova, more resolute than ever.

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