After Russia initiated the Ukraine War, Russian citizens fell into one of two camps: those who support the “special military operation” and those who do not. A multitude of restrictive laws was added to the Criminal Code (see Patching the Holes, page 20), and people began to inform on one another. It was as if the country had returned to the Stalin era.
In Penza, students informed on their teacher after she voiced opinions on the Ukraine War that deviated from the official line. As a result, a case was brought against her under the article targeting anything deemed to be “fake news” concerning the special military operation. Another teacher was informed on by co-workers after he removed posters featuring the pro-war Z symbol from the doors of a local business.
Tatyana Savinkina, a retiree in Karelia, was recently fined 30,000 rubles ($475) for “disparaging the armed forces of the Russian Federation.”
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Nikita Belykh, a politician and former head of the Union of Right Forces party and a staunch opponent of Vladimir Putin’s rule. Elected to the Perm Oblast Legislative Assembly, he later served as governor of Kirov Oblast, before being dismissed and convicted in 2018 on trumped up bribery charges, for which he got an eight-year prison term.
Boris Nemtsov, a politician who was highly critical of Vladimir Putin. He was assassinated in Moscow on February 27, 2015.
Yuri Dmitriev, head of the Karelian Division of Memorial, was detained in December 2016 on suspicion of child pornography. The purported cause was the discovery on his computer of naked pictures of his foster daughter, images later proven to contain no pornographic content, but taken, as Dmitriev asserted throughout his defense, to document the health conditions of his daughter. Many were certain that Dmitriev’s case was connected to his activity with Memorial, and the acquittals and political machinations up and down the courts seem to support that theory. Dmitriev, who finally got a 15-year sentence, is largely responsible for the discovery and investigation of two mass graves containing murdered Soviet political prisoners in Karelia: Sandarmokh and Krasny Bor.
Located on Lake Onega in Karelia, halfway between Medvezhegorsk and Povenets.
The Young Communists League, which groomed citizens for party membership.
An island in Lake Ladoga known for its ancient monastery.
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov (1896-1974) who led some of the Red Army’s most important victories and organized the defense of Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad.
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