On 15 March, Moscow saw its largest demonstration in over two years, a protest against Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and impending annexation of the Crimea.
News agency AFP reported that some demonstrators carried placards comparing Putin’s actions with the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland before the Second World War. AFP counted 50,000 demonstrators; the Moscow police only 3,000.
Kidnapped and beaten
Only one arrest was reported at the 15 March demo, but earlier protests in Russia have seen significant repression.
The radical Russian website, Autonomous Action, reported on 12 March that anarchists in the northern city of Petrozavodsk organising an ‘Against the War in Ukraine’ demonstration on 9 March were attacked by masked men the evening before, and then 30 minutes before it took place.
In the second attack, four activists are said to have been beaten severely, kidnapped by car, told that they were going to be forced to dig their own graves, and dumped in a forest 25 miles away.
The rights monitoring group Ovdinfo has reported numerous arrests of anti-war activists in Moscow, including 100 arrested on 2 March and 28 on 4 March.