Young Russian protests in custody | Guest Column

Submitted by Mark Fishaut.

As many as 200,000 Russians have fled their country since it invaded Ukraine, fearing a wave of government repression and a possible closure of Russia’s borders similar to what happened in the Soviet era.

However, a devoted, diverse assortment of anti-war activists have stayed behind, continuing to protest, post online, fundraise and organize opposition to Putin’s war. There are thousands of mostly young Russians protesting the invasion of and war crimes in Ukraine.

They are beaten, arrested, and incarcerated. These images were taken 2 weeks ago of relatives in Moscow: siblings 24-year-old Boris (now released from jail) and 30-year-old Yana (released but fined). Who are they? She’s a fashion blogger and he’s a server in a vegan restaurant. They are just people trying to live ordinary lives yet still willing to risk everything.

The first time you are arrested, there’s a fine. The second time, jail for 2 weeks. Third-timers will likely receive long prison sentences. Still, they resist. Processing after detainment is insidious. The jails are so full that the authorities can’t charge everyone immediately. They take names, addresses, and phone numbers, coming for you later when space allows.

Obviously, Ukraine needs our primary support but these courageous people are worthy of help as well. There are few routes to get funding to protestors to retain counsel. Many web portals are blocked and others take worthless rubles not dollars. The following website is considered both legitimate and dependable at least for the moment:

Thank you.