Russians Are Resisting the Crackdown on War Dissidents, Paying Dearly


  • The Russian government is cracking down on citizens who oppose the war.
  • Some 260 people have been jailed for anti-war stances, a Russian human rights organization said.
  • The crackdown comes as Russians mourn the death of prominent Putin critic Alexey Navalny.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine plods onward, so does its severe surveillance of citizens who have spoken out against the war effort.

As the invasion enters its third year, authorities have been bringing up charges against citizens like 70-year-old human rights activist Oleg Orlov for “discrediting the army,” CNN reported.

“The state in our country is once again controlling not only social, political, and economic life but is now claiming full control over culture, scientific thought, and is inserting itself in private life. It’s becoming all-pervasive,” Orlov said during his trial in Moscow, after which he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, CNN reported.

His crime was penning an article in the French press in 2022 about Russia’s descent into fascism and President Vladimir Putin’s “mass murder of the Ukrainian people,” according to The New York Times.

Some 260 people are currently detained in Russian jails for their antiwar sentiments, according to OVD-Info, a Russian human rights group, CNN reported.

Shortly after the invasion began in February 2022, Putin signed a law punishing people who share “false information” with up to 15 years in prison. People have faced punishment for benign acts of protest, like holding up a blank posterboard or even referring to the conflict as a war, according to Human Rights Watch.

“They will imprison old people, they will imprison people who have disabilities. They will imprison people with children, women with children,” Darya Korolenko, a lawyer at OVD-Info, told CNN. “They just want everyone to be silent.”

Similar to Orlov’s case, an elderly woman named Evgeniya Mayboroda was jailed for reposting what authorities called anti-war stances on social media, CNN reported.

In another case, 67-year-old Nadezhda Buyanova, a doctor in Moscow, was arrested and had her apartment searched after she was accused of sympathizing with Ukraine.

Russia’s tightening grip comes on the heels of the death of Alexey Navalny, one of Putin’s top critics whose sudden demise in a Russian prison has been blamed on state actors. Hundreds of Russians nationwide were detained at memorials for the late Navalny.


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