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Russia-Ukraine War: Russia is currently experiencing complete dread

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia is currently experiencing complete dread

Russia-Ukraine War: Russia is currently experiencing complete dread


A giant banner with the words “Putin, the Hague is waiting for you” is attached to a tall building in the middle of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, atop a Ukrainian flag.

Electronic displays on city buses alternate between stating their location and professing “love” for Ukraine with tiny hearts.

This week, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland all enacted travel bans on all Russian visitors on the grounds that their government shouldn’t be promoting democracy and freedom in Europe while undermining these principles in Ukraine.

Activists for the Russian opposition who are already overseas are alarmed by the move.

Anastasia Shevchenko, an activist who spent two years under house arrest for protesting against the Russian president, says it is weird to ban someone for being Russian, whether or not they support Putin’s rule.

She was on a suspended sentence when Russia attacked its neighbor, and one mistake—even a comment against war—could have resulted in her being imprisoned.

However, Anastasia could not stand to remain silent, so she crammed her family’s belongings into a few cases and departed for Lithuania in the middle of the night.

“What is going on in Russia now is like total fear,” Anastasia tells me, in Vilnius. “So many people are frightened because we know they can do anything. It’s not only prison, or fines: you can be killed or poisoned. It’s like a huge prison. All the country.”

Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of Russian reservists since we last spoke, the first concrete test of support for his invasion. Early indications do not bode well.

Many cities saw demonstrations with demonstrators yelling “no to war!” and even “Putin to the trenches!” Over a thousand people were held, and some of them later received call-up notices from the police.

But even more Russians are making their way to the border via whatever available path.

Latvia and Estonia likewise assert that evading conscription is not a basis for refuge, despite the fact that lines to enter Finland are expanding. However, the prime minister made it clear that it was “not the obligation of other countries to save Russians fleeing mobilization.” Lithuania will assess each situation on an individual basis.

If those protesting the draft had not spoken out against the murder of Ukrainian civilians, Ukrainians would not have any compassion for them.

Even the most severely persecuted Russian activists are viewed by some as cowards because the risk they run by defying President Putin pales in comparison to the possibility of being attacked by his troops.

However, those campaigners claim that it is not that easy.

“Of course, we are aware of this obligation. We ought to have seized the chance to transform our nation “Dmitry Gudkov, a former opposition lawmaker, agrees.

“Putin is a murderer and a war criminal. However, how can Russians within Russia thwart Putin? It isn’t feasible.”

Anastasia Shevchenko left Russia for Lithuania after her son was asked to write a letter wishing Russian soldiers victory

Mr. Gudkov claimed he was advised to leave Moscow before the conflict or face going to jail. All significant members of the Russian opposition at this time are either detained, deceased, or exiled.

So, at a recent event in Vilnius, a stage message urged citizens in other countries to “be brave, like Ukraine,” yet the atmosphere was somber with a whiff of hopelessness.

Many are now looking to Ukraine to defeat Putin, something they were unable to do peacefully within of Russia.

That is the only alternative, in my opinion, argues Mr. Gudkov, who believes that the West should increase military aid to Ukraine.

The team of Alexei Navalny concur but go further. Dozens of the opposition politician’s staff have relocated to Vilnius after he was put in jail in order to avoid being charged as “extremists” themselves.

“Putin committed his gravest mistake when he invaded Ukraine. I believe he dramatically decreased the duration of his reign,” Mr Navalny’s right-hand man, Leonid Volkov, tells me.

As footage of soldiers bidding their families farewell in tears have been appearing all over the nation this week, the call-up has verified that theory.

No one attacked Russia, and nobody needs these rifts and fatalities, Mr. Volkov tweeted. But on February 24, a lunatic drove his nation into a corner.

Through YouTube, Mr. Navalny’s team has been attempting to discredit support for the war. Since the invasion, the number of people watching their Vilnius-produced shows has doubled.

Additionally, they are asking for increased Western sanctions rather than visa bans for an entire country.

They want Ukraine’s allies to look beyond President Putin’s immediate circle and impose sanctions on the roughly 6,000 people Mr. Volkov counts as “war facilitators,” including state journalists and judges.

“Our call to Western governments is to sanction all those people and present them with an exit strategy: tell them what they have to do to get off the list,” Mr Volkov says.

“This will create splits. Many will start to jump ship, and Putin’s system can’t work without them,” he adds.

Since then, Russian soldiers have been compelled to withdraw from major portions of Ukraine, and President Putin has reacted as per usual by escalating.

Along with the call-up, he has threatened to grab more Ukrainian territory and has sent a new nuclear warning to the West.

The campaign has a significant financial stake for the president of Russia, and things might get lot worse.

Anastasia Shevchenko, an activist, is left feeling guilty about not being able to stop him sooner.

“I blame myself and it’s not a good feeling, believe me,” she admits.

But when her son was required to write a letter to the military at his elementary school wishing them success, she made the decision to leave Russia.

Instead, he advised them not to engage in conflict with their neighbors.

“I think all we can do now as Russians is say sorry – and protest against Vladimir Putin,” Anastasia says. “Because Putin personally is the reason for what’s going on. Why so many people are dying.”

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