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Russians Protest War in Ukraine, Thousands Arrested by Police

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: February 25, 2022
Police officers detain a woman during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Moscow on February 24, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.(Image: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tens of thousands of citizens on Thursday, Feb. 24 came out in more than 50 cities across the country to express their outrage at the war. Police have made around 2,000 arrests at the time of writing, 600 of them in Moscow alone. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin had given the order to launch a “special military operation” into Ukraine, culminating in the largest military attack since the Second World War.


Within a day, Ukraine was bombarded and stormed from three sides, leaving it vulnerable to the might of the Russian Army, and without direct aid from its European allies. 

Unlike in 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimea from Ukraine in a largely bloodless operation, public reactions to the current war have been far less enthusiastic. 

Protesters turned out by the thousands in major Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Moscow, chanting “No war” and carrying placards condemning the invasion. 

Journalists, scientists, and even municipal council members in Moscow all signed open letters to oppose the aggressive attacks.

Russian celebrities and public figures shared their outrage by either voicing their words online or even quitting their jobs. 

Moscow Theater director Yelena Kovalskaya resigned because “it’s impossible to work for a killer and get paid by him,” she shared on Facebook.

Nationally acclaimed singer Valery Meladze “begged” Russia to end the war.

“Today something happened that should have never happened. History will be the judge of these events. But today, I beg you, please stop the war.” Meladze said.

Russian football star Fyodor Smolov posted on Instagram, chanting “No to War!!!”.

Political analyst Vladimir Pastukhov also believes that Russia made a big mistake, and is only bringing doom upon itself for going to war against Ukraine.

“This is a war already lost by Putin… the occupation of Ukraine, direct or indirect, would be a noose around Russia’s neck,” he said.

A poll released by the Levada Center on Thursday showed that only 45 percent of Russians supported Putin’s recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian separatist elements. However, true support for the war, or lack thereof, is hard to gauge.

Protests are occurring across the world, as Ukrainian foreigners and expats rally in the streets of other countries to decry Russia’s assault in their home country, worried that their families and friends are trapped by the Russian military, Reuters reported.

Russia’s Investigative Committee announced a warning on Thursday that any Russians participating in “unauthorized” protests will be arrested. 

In the wake of the protests, more than 1,700 people have been arrested in 54 Russian cities, with 954 arrests made in Moscow alone. People are tackled to the ground and herded into police cars or trucks, awaiting “severe punishment” that will attempt to strike fear into the Russian people.

According to al-Jazeera, some reports indicate that state-funded companies were ordered not to comment openly on the events in Ukraine. Russian media was also told to use “information and data they get only from official Russian sources.”

“Everyone is scared,” citizen Zhargal Rinchinov from Buryatia said. “They know if they say something bad then they’ll be put in jail.”