The invasion of Ukraine has shocked prominent Russians, who have gone public with their opposition to the war, despite the professional and personal risks that come with dissent on such a sensitive issue in Russia, according to The Guardian.
More than 1,800 people were arrested at rallies, as prominent Russians from the entertainment, business, and journalism industries risked their careers to speak out.
While the acts of dissent may not change Kremlin policy, they may indicate that there is significantly less public or elite support for the current military operation in Ukraine than there was for the annexation of Crimea eight years ago, according to The Guardian.
Elena Chernenko, a veteran diplomatic correspondent for the Kommersant newspaper, was stunned to learn that Russia was invading Ukraine.
She penned an open letter condemning the attack on Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced the military operation. According to the report, nearly 300 journalists have signed, including representatives from state-run media.
Popular actors and musicians, some of whom are government employees, have also spoken out and appear to have been punished for their dissent.
Ivan Urgant, the host of a popular talk show on state-run Channel One, posted a black square on Instagram on Thursday with the caption “Fear and anguish. War is not the answer.” His show has not aired since.
In protest of the war, Elena Kovalskaya, director of the Meyerhold Center in Moscow, resigned from her position at the state-funded theatre. “It’s impossible to work for a murderer and be paid by him,” she wrote of her decision, according to The Guardian.
Even the families of some of Russia’s wealthiest businessmen have spoken out against the war. The daughter of Roman Abramovich posted an Instagram photo with the caption “Putin wants a war with Ukraine,” with the word Russia crossed out.”The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russian stand with Putin”, the report said.
Lisa Peskova, the daughter of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, took to Instagram on Friday afternoon to post a simple message on a black background: “No to war.” Tatyana Yumasheva, Boris Yeltsin’s daughter, did as well, according to The Guardian.