It takes a lot of courage to protest in an autocrat’s domain. Knowing you will get in trouble makes it even more daring, especially when you have seen the best political opposition jailed before each election against the autocratic leader.
Per the Time Magazine article “Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sparking more anti-war protests in Russian. This could be his undoing” by Arik Burakovky, here is paragraph on the current tally of those Russians arrested for protesting. A link to the article is below.
“Despite government threats of prosecution for high treason charges, and sometimes cruel treatment of protesters, thousands took their anti-war statements to the streets and squares of Russian cities following the onset of the military intervention. The mass demonstrations were immediate, involving highly public figures. They were vividly streamed and shared—and partially organized—on social media. More than 6,500 demonstrators were arrested over a five-day period. Several Russian and Ukrainian news outlets were blocked for their coverage of the invasion, and prominent liberal radio station Echo Moskvy was taken off air yesterday.”
In some respects, this may seem like a small number, but one has to remember this malevolent acting autocrat has spent years of punishing perceived and real enemies. He has spent years deploying his skill at disinformation both within and outside of his country. Social media has only enabled his disinformation efforts.
What also amazes and alarms me is the number of US folks who have sung praises of Putin. It has alarmed some Republican leaders, who are seeing a sect within their own party try to dress up Putin to mask his malevolence. Senator Mitt Romney said on Sunday in an interview, it is “unthinkable” and “almost treasonous” for anyone who loves freedom to also support Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Let’s be frank. The US is far from perfect and has and will make mistakes. Sometimes our elected officials stray from our ideals. Yet, Russian soldiers at Putin’s direction have made up an excuse to invade a country of former home boys and girls, in attempt to shore up their fossil-fuel dragging economy and reconstitute the former USSR empire. What they are finding is a moxie in the Ukrainian people they did not expect, coupled with more moxie in the protestors.
Mr. Putin, you can take your shirt off and ride a horse to look tough, but toughness is standing up to bullies and telling them to stop. Toughness is not stepping on people.