Thousands of Russians have poured into streets across the country to participate in anti-war protests. Even prominent Russians have demonstrated their frustration with Vladimir Putin over his decision to invade Ukraine, and some have purportedly faced retaliation from the Kremlin.
Massive anti-war protests across Russia
Russian authorities arrested at least 1,866 people in 60 cities who had been participating in anti-war protests since Thursday, according to OVD Info – a Russia-based human rights organization that monitors political persecutions.
There were huge protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg condemning Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Prominent Russians rail against invasion of Ukraine
There were also prominent Russians dissenting against their president's decision to invade Ukraine.
Ivan Urgant – a popular talk show host on state-run Channel One, posted a black square on Instagram with the caption: "Fear and pain. No to war."
The Guardian reported, "His show has not gone on air since. Channel One has claimed it is just a scheduling issue, although several reports in Russian media say that they have been blacklisted."
A Channel One spokesperson told the Associated Press that the decision to remove Urgant's show from the schedule was not related to his anti-war post on social media. The television network said they had made a programming decision to replace entertainment shows with news and political shows "because of the current situation."
Rapper Oxxxymiron canceled six sold-out Moscow and St. Petersburg shows because of Russia's aggression.
"I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine," Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, said. "When residents of Kyiv are forced to hide in basements and in the metro, while people are dying."
"I know that most people in Russia are against this war, and I am confident that the more people would talk about their real attitude to it, the faster we can stop this horror," Fyodorov said, according to the New York Times. "This is a crime and a catastrophe."
Yuri Shevchuk, frontman of the Soviet-era rock band DDT, blasted Putin's decision by saying, "We're being pulled like through an ice hole into the past, into the 19th, 18th, 17th centuries. And people refuse to accept it."
Elena Chernenko, a veteran journalist for the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper, published an open letter voicing her opposition to the war in Ukraine. More than 280 other journalists signed her letter, including some who are employed at state-run news agencies.
Despite not criticizing the government directly, Chernenko was expelled from the Foreign Ministry pool, which she had covered for more than 11 years. The Kremlin said she was removed from the pool for "unprofessional" behavior.
Chernenko told the Guardian that there was "nothing complicated" about writing the letter.
"It was a spontaneous reaction," Chernenko explained. "My country has started a military operation against another … but we’re for diplomacy, we’re for the UN charter, moral values, brotherly nations, and all that. And I had the feeling that this is the wrong path."
Daughters of influential Russians oppose Vladimir Putin's aggression
The daughter of billionaire and Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich posted an anti-Putin message on social media. The daughter of Abramovich, who has a net worth of $13.5 billion and owns the world's second-largest yacht, shared a post on Instagram that stated: "The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin."
Even the daughter of Putin's own spokesperson called for an end to the war with Ukraine. Yelizaveta Peskova, the 24-year-old daughter of Dmitry Peskov, posted an anti-war message on social media.
Newsweek reported, "The 24-year-old posted 'HET BOЙHE' (or 'no to war' in English) to her Telegram account." The post was later deleted.
Coincidentally, Dmitry Peskov attempted to pacify protesters by claiming that Putin "hears everyone's opinion." The spokesperson added that Putin also knows "the share of those who have a different point of view and those who are sympathetic to such a necessary operation."