Shocked by the invasion of Ukraine, prominent Russians have gone public with their opposition to the war, despite the professional and personal risks that come with dissent on such a sensitive issue in Russia, The Guardian reported.
More than 1,800 people were arrested at rallies as prominent Russians from the worlds of entertainment, business and journalism have risked their livelihoods in order to speak out.
While the acts of dissent may not change Kremlin policy, they could point to significantly less public or elite support for the current military operation in Ukraine than the annexation of Crimea eight years ago, The Guardian reported.
When Elena Chernenko, the veteran diplomatic correspondent for Kommersant newspaper, found out that Russia was invading Ukraine, she said she was stunned.
After Vladimir Putin announced the military operation, she penned an open letter condemning the attack on Ukraine. Nearly 300 journalists have signed, including representatives of state-run media, the report said.
Popular actors and musicians, some of whom are employed by the government, have also spoken out and appear to have been punished for their dissent.
On Thursday, Ivan Urgant, the host of a popular talk show on state-run Channel One, posted a black square on Instagram with the caption “Fear and pain. No to war.” His show has not gone on air since.
Elena Kovalskaya, the director of the Meyerhold Center in Moscow, quit her job at the state-financed theatre in an act of protest over the war. “It’s impossible to work for a murderer and receive your salary from him,” she wrote of her decision, The Guardian reported.
Even the family members of some of Russia’s richest businessmen have gone public in their opposition to war. The daughter of Roman Abramovich posted an Instagram picture that read “Putin wants a war with Ukraine,” crossing out the word Russia. “The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russian stand with Putin”, the report said.
And on Friday afternoon, Lisa Peskova, the daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, took to Instagram to post a simple message on a black background: “No to war.” So did Tatyana Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin, The Guardian reported.