Some Russians won’t halt war protests, despite arrest fears

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, Anastasia has started her day by composing an anti war message and posting it on the wall at the entrance of her apartment block in the industrial city of Perm in the Ural Mountains.

“Do not believe the propaganda you see on the TV, read independent media!” reads one. “Violence and death have been constantly with us for three months now — take care of yourselves” reads another.

The 31-year-old teacher, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she fears for her security, said she wanted “a safe and simple method of getting a message across.”

“I couldn’t do something huge and public,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I want to get people to think. And I think we should influence whatever space, in whatever way we can.”

Despite a massive government crackdown on such acts of protest, some Russians have persisted in speaking out against the invasion — even in the simplest of ways.

Some have paid a heavy price. In the early, wintry days of the invasion in February, authorities moved quickly to quash demonstrations, arresting people who marched or even held blank signs or other oblique references to the conflict. Critical media outlets were shut down as the government sought to control the narrative.

Political opponents were singled out by President Vladimir Putin or commentators on state-run TV. Lawmakers rubber-stamped measures that outlawed the spread of “false information” about what the Kremlin called a “special military operation” and disparaging the military, using them against anyone who spoke out against the attack or talked about the atrocities Russian troops were alleged to have committed.

As the war has dragged on into the languid days of a Russian summer, some like Anastasia feel guilty that they cannot do more to oppose the invasion, even within the constraints of the new laws.

When Russian troops rolled in Ukraine on Feb. 24, Anastasia said her first thought was to sell all her possessions and move abroad, but she soon changed her mind.

“It’s my country, why should I leave?” she told AP. “I understood I needed to stay and create something to help from here.”

By The Associated Press

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