On the morning of February 24, the Russian army attacked Ukraine. On the first day of the war, residents of dozens of Russian cities took part in anti-war protests, which have been going on for four days. We inform you about the latest events.
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Information about detainees
Between February 24th to 27th, 5935 people were detained in more than 70 cities of Russia.
February 24th: 1977 detainees in 67 cities of Russia. Here is a list of detainees by city (read about the results of the first day of the anti-war protest rally here)
February 25th: 625 detainees in 33 cities of Russia. Here is a list of detainees by city.
February 26th: 529 detainees in 36 cities of Russia. Here is a list of detainees by city.
February 27th: 2802 detainees in 56 cities. Here is a list of detainees by city (some people were detained in connection with campaigns in memory of Boris Nemtsov, who was killed on February 27th, 2015)
That is what detainees are charged with: violation of the rules of participation in a protest activity (section 5 of article 20.2 of the Administrative Code), repeated offense of the rules of participation in a rally (part 8 of article 20.2 of the Administrative Code), organising or carrying out a protest (section 2 of article 20.2 of the Administrative Code), disobedience of police instructions (article 19.3 of the Administrative Code), organising the simultaneous presence of citizens in a public place, causing disorderly conduct (section 1 of article 20.2.2 of the Administrative Code), minor hooliganism (article 20.1 of the Administrative Code), interference with urban infrastructure (section 6.1 of article 20.2 of the Administrative Code). In addition, there are applications of the following articles in individual cases: 20.6.1 of the Administrative Code (non-compliance with the code of conduct for emergency), 8.6.1 of the Administrative Code of St. Petersburg (violation of coronavirus restrictions), 6.9 of the Administrative Code (drug use), 20.1 of the Administrative Code (disorderly conduct).
What threatens the detainees: according to various sections of administrative articles, detainees face fines from two thousand to 300 thousand rubles and arrest for up to 30 days.
Violence and other illegal actions by the security forces
- On February 25th, in Moscow, a detainee at the Pushkinskaya metro station was refused permission to leave the police van in order to use a toilet. He had to urinate in a bottle.
- At an anti-war rally on February 25th in St. Petersburg a detainee was beaten in a police van by police officers.
- At an anti-war rally on February 26th in Moscow, police detained a man and hit his head on the hood of a car because he refused to hand over his passport to them.
- At a rally on February 27th in St. Petersburg, human rights defender Andrei Kalikh, was thrown over the fence by the police and detained. Information about his condition vary: he was diagnosed with either a dislocation or a broken arm.
- At a rally on February 27th in Moscow, police officers put a group of anti-war protesters with their faces against a wall.
- During an anti-war rally on February 27th in St. Petersburg, a policeman hit a protester on the head with a baton. After this, several other policemen carried him into a police van.
- In different cities, protesters were laid on the ground and punched and kicked while being detained. In Nizhny Novgorod, on February 27th, during the detention of the head of 'Nizhny Novgorod Red Cross', the police used a stun gun.
- At a rally on February 27th in St. Petersburg an OMON-officer hit one of the female protesters on the head during her detention. She then began to feel sick.
- In St. Petersburg, police pulled off one of the detainees' trousers, and in Izhevsk police officers pulled off a detainee’s jacket.
- In St. Petersburg, a bus carrying detainees had a wheel on fire and the smoke was getting into the passenger cabin.
Detention of journalists
- At an anti-war rally on February 25th in Moscow, police have detained SOTA correspondent Gleb Sokolov.
- At a protest rally on February 26th in St. Petersburg, police detained have detained Avtozak LIVE journalist Ekaterina Goncharova.
- On February 26th Arzamas editor and former Esquire editor-in-chief Dmitry Golubovsky was detained in Moscow. The reason was his refusal, at the request of a district police officer, to remove a poster with the Ukrainian flag and the slogan «No to war» on it from his window.
- On February 26th, police have detained RusNews journalist Matvey Golovanov in Yekaterinburg.
- On February 26th, security forces detained the head of the RBC industry department Timofey Dzyadko near the Embassy of Ukraine in Moscow.
- Mark Bennetts, a correspondent of The Times newspaper, and Eduard Burmistrov, a 'Dozhd' journalist, were detained on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge during a rally on February 27th in Moscow.
- During a rally on February 27th in Moscow on Novy Arbat, an operator of «Dozhd» Andrey Karasev was detained.
So far, two criminal cases due to anti-war protests are officially known. On February 24th a young woman threw a Molotov cocktail towards the security forces on Pushkin Square in Moscow. On February 27th, a man crashed his car with anti-war slogans into a barrier, and then set the car on fire. The girl was arrested on a charge of violence against police officers (318 of the Criminal Code), the man was accused of hooliganism (213 of the Criminal Code). The measure of restraint in his case is not known yet.
Resistance without leaders
Marina, who is a 75-year-old artist from St. Petersburg was almost detained by the police at a rally at Gostiny Dvor on February 26th, during a conversation with her daughter and her friend. Eventually she was released because the police van turned out to be full. Her daughter, however, was taken to the police station.
'When everything was still calm, people were just starting to gather. I approached the police officers myself. My children told me that I shouldn’t do so, but I still came up to them — Marina tells OVD-Info. — I asked them 'How are you? Your job must be difficult' They answered: 'We are doing our duty' I said 'Don’t grab the girls, grab guys at least.' They said 'Do you want to divide disobedience by gender? ' I said, 'Well, I would like to.' As soon as I left them, they dragged my daughter into the van in front of my eyes.' It is Marina’s first rally.
Next to her in the crowd of protesters is 60-year-old Tatiana. She clutches a flower in her hands and constantly fixing the mask falling off her face. She too is attending a protest rally for the very first time. 'I haven’t been going to such events lately, but I also went out in 91. It was scary back then and it’s scary now, of course. But it is necessary to go out. It’s even scarier out there: the war, people are dying. And economic consequences for the country, and human victims…Everything scares. But if we don’t go out now, how are we going to look into our children’s eyes later? ' — Tatiana says, barely holding back tears.
A 65-year-old Rostislav stands in one of the first rows, very close to the police officers, who every now and then report that protesters are violating bans on mass events related to the coronavirus. 'I’m not afraid of being detained, ' he notes. — I understand perfectly well that they can detain me just for standing here. In our country, even if you are silent against the authorities, you are a criminal. Stop being afraid already. We’ve been afraid for 20 years. I’m not afraid of anything now.'
Rostislav grew up in the Donbas. For him, the beginning of Russia’s military actions on the territory of Ukraine is also a personal tragedy. 'Unfortunately, the occupied region there is poisoned by Russian propaganda, just like most of the Russian population. But I am standing here now, next to honest, pure and open people, ' the man continues.
Galina, 25, stands far from the crowd. 'I always go to rallies whenever I can, ' she says, 'Lately it mostly has turned into escaping from big people in black uniforms (riot police officers — OVD-Info). But now it is rather some kind of horror, which is happening in the country. People come here not only to show the world that we are against the war with Ukraine, but also to feel united in the positions they take.'
The scale of rallies is approaching a record since Putin came to power. Citizens expressed about the same level of discontent a year ago in connection with the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, his arrest on his return to Russia and the publication of a movie about Vladimir Putin’s palace in Gelendzhik. But then there was Alexei Navalny’s network of headquarters and other opposition groups operating simultaneously in different Russian cities. In 2021, repressions were intensified: hundreds of people were prosecuted for political reasons, thousands left the country fearing persecution.
How detentions occur
There are many known cases of detentions for one-person-protests (in Russian: Odinočnyj piket) against the war, people carrying yellow and blue (the national colors of Ukraine) balloons or flowers, badges, medical masks or clothing with pacifist symbols. Police officers look for people who are placing anti-war posters on their windows. Other reasons for detentions are posts and reposts with announcements of rallies, distribution of leaflets or writing anti-war slogans on walls.
In Moscow, detainees reported overcrowded police vans. In some cases public transit buses were used instead of police vans, as in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.