Last Thursday, the first month of the offensive that the Kremlin justifies having undertaken to “denazify” Ukraine, a renowned Russian journalist found nailed to the door of his house an emblem with the blue and yellow flag of the neighboring country and the word “Judensau”, which means “Jewish pig” in German, written on it. And at her feet, a pig’s head with a wig that emulated her emblematic curly hair.
“Have you decided to intimidate me and my family? Me, whom Dudáyev’s (first Chechen separatist leader) military took away to be shot?” Alexei Venedíktov denounced on his Telegram channel. The one who, until a few weeks ago, directed the oldest Echo of Moscow radio station, liquidated after being blocked by the authorities for its coverage of the war, has been one of those threatened for being critical of the conflict.
This Friday two activists from Saint Petersburg were attacked. “Danger! Here lives a traitor to the country!”, was written on two posters pasted to the entrance of the homes of Daría Heikinen, of the Mayak Movement, and Kristina Vorotníkova, former assistant to the opposition Alexei Navalni. In the case of the first one, they stained her doorknob with some fluids, while the second activist found the door defaced with the word “traitor”. And on the landing of her homes, manure on the floor.
Of the incident that affected him, the journalist Venedíktov obtained a recording of the interior corridor of the building where he lives where the person who put the pig’s head on his doorway appeared, a man who could have been disguised as a delivery man. As he told the Ria Novosti news agency, the police “were already aware of the facts” even before filing the complaint.
Before there were other cases. On March 16, activist Olga Mísik found the door of her house painted from top to bottom. “My apartment has received a cosmetic treatment,” wrote the protester, who became famous for reading the Russian Constitution in front of the police in the 2020 protests, when she was still a teenager, wrote on Twitter. Mísik showed three photographs of her where you could read her message directed against her: “Don’t sell the homeland, whore.”
Mísik commented on that threat with a subtle warning. “The West will bet on the fifth column. Not only for those who live there geographically, but also for those who are with their slave consciousness. But the people of Russia will be able to distinguish patriots from traitors, and such a purification of society will only strengthen the country. A.Hit… [Adolf Hitler]sorry, VV Putin”, published Mísik when transcribing, one by one, the words that the Russian president had said shortly before.
That graffiti was headed by a z, the letter that propaganda has turned into the symbol of those who support the war. “For the family” (for the motherland, in Russian); “For the president” (for the president), are some of the slogans promoted with a letter that before the attack began, went viral on social networks. The reason, to be painted on Russian trucks and tanks as a badge for friendly fire, an indication that preparations for war had already finished.
Soldiers who refuse to participate “in the special operation”
Not only part of civil society has shown its rejection of the conflict. On February 25, the second day of the war, a platoon leader and 11 soldiers from the Russian Plastun detachment refused to cross the border separating Ukraine from Russia’s Krasnodar region. The military reported that it was an illegal action, and as a result, they were returned to their base, an investigation was opened, and they were fired. Now they are fighting in court for their return to work because they consider that the expulsion was inappropriate.
“None of them had a passport to travel abroad and did not intend to leave, since their obligations were limited to the territory of the Russian Federation,” his lawyer, Mikhail Benyash, shared on Telegram. In addition, the defense highlighted that illegally crossing the border is a crime defined by article 322 of the Russian Criminal Code, to which other crimes under Ukrainian law would have been added.
This event is no exception. “After this news we have received similar stories from Crimea, Velikiy Novgorod, Omsk, Stavropol… workers seeking help,” Pavel Chikov, a well-known human rights defender and regular columnist for the Russian press, wrote on his social media. . “Write to our lawyers; We will help the officers get their jobs back for refusing to go to the hostilities in Ukraine,” added the also president of the Ágora foundation, who was expelled in 2019 along with other activists from the Presidential Council for Human Rights, dependent on the Kremlin.
According to Benyash, “there are quite a few indicators (those who refuse to go to war, in a pun) throughout Russia, but only these have had the courage to sue. the rest joined [a la invasión] without question, which says a lot about them as fighters. “His refusal should not be seen as a political statement,” wrote the lawyer, who argued that refusing to participate in “a special operation” (as the Kremlin calls it) “is not a disciplinary offense or an offense at all.”
The Plastún group is part of the OMON, the acronym for the riot and anti-terrorist body of the National Guard (Rosgvardia), a mixed military and police force, created in 2016 and that only carries out orders from the president, not from the Government and its Ministry of Defense . “Captain Farid Chitav and the rest of the men made the decision on their own,” according to Benyash.
“None of the plaintiffs was informed about their work trip to the Ukrainian territory to participate in a special military operation, neither about the tasks nor the conditions of this operation. Therefore, they did not give their consent,” said Benyash, a lawyer known for having been tried in 2018 for allegedly assaulting a police officer while meeting with a protester. Amnesty International and other NGOs such as Frontline Defenders said that this process “was politically motivated.”