Over a few days, we have to face that it was one year ago that Russia did what it said never to do. For months, the Russian government told the citizens of the federation it was going to liberate the Ukrainians of Neo-Nazis and corrupt leaders.
As the months of 2022 wore on, and it became increasingly clear that Russia was not really maintaining aid organisations in Ukraine, as Putin claimed, more Russians worried about what was really going on.
But soon those who questioned Putin‘s actions had to find that it was best not to make their opinions public. For all those who dared to publicly protest against the invasion of Ukraine or stand up against Putin’s policies were imprisoned or very strangely expelled from this globe.
For several reporters, philosophers, and oligarchs living inside as well as outside the Russian Federation, it became clear that Putin was about more than ridding Ukraine of so-called fascists. It also quickly became clear that Putin was after more than just Crimea or the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Those who expressed their thoughts on this were quickly gagged by the Kremlin’s secret service agents or by Russian police forces.
Last year alone, among as many as 20 high-profile Russian tycoons – many of them critics of Moscow and, in some cases, of Russian President Vladimir Putin himself – were to die in unusual circumstances since the Ukraine invasion began last February.
More deaths appeared under the Russian citizens also by those who claimed to be a patriot who supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But for Putin, it was not done to criticize his plans or to dispute the number of dead soldiers.
Mid December Russian-American journalist Julia Ioffe told a US radio station that “pretty big” air quotes should be used around the idea of the run of fatalities were “coincidences”.
“If anything, it has become even more dangerous, domestically and abroad, for Russian oligarchs to oppose Vladimir Putin, to speak out against him. And Vladimir Putin seems to be making that very clear with a string of these coincidences,”
she told Texas Public Radio.
So we can say that we have returned to the Stalin years for today’s Russia, where the shrewd dictator is very handy at finding out what others think of his policies. He too, does not shy away from inviting people to dinner, to find out what they actually think. Afterwards, he can then have those who don’t like him liquidated.
Besides those who want to say their thoughts about the war, it has also become more difficult to speak out about the otherness of others.
While the war is raging, a handful of brave activists in Russia, continue to defend LGBT+ people and queer rights under increasingly hostile and dangerous conditions. In several eastern European countries, we notice the adversity against people who are different from the mainstream. In fact, several authorities are finding ways to shut down human rights and LGBT+ organisations that are opposing hateful politics and actions against queer people.
On April 21st, a court in Russia might decide to liquidate Charitable Foundation Sphere, an organisation operating all the programs of the Russian LGBT Network, the largest Russian queer group. It is this group that evacuated dozens of people during the anti-LGBT+ crackdown in Chechnya that began in 2017. At that time anti-gay purges in Chechnya in the Chechen Republic, a part of the Russian Federation, have included forced disappearances — secret abductions, imprisonment, torture — and extrajudicial killing by authorities targeting persons based on their perceived sexual orientation, primarily gay men. At least 2 of the 100 people, whom authorities detained on suspicion of being gay or bisexual, have reportedly died after being held in what human rights groups and eyewitnesses have called concentration camps.
Today, all those opposing Putin and his policy or who are defending gay people are put together in such concentration camps. Although homosexuality was legalized in Russia in 1993 the last few years the government liked it very much that several groups attacked gay people so that those attacked could be imprisoned for aggression or violence. It is still so that gay people who reveal their sexuality are often discriminated against and shunned by their families.
For Vladimir Putin we are facing a coming decade which will be the “most dangerous” since the end of the Second World War. In October last year he was accusing the West of seeking to dominate the world and that the situation is
“to a certain extent revolutionary”
he told members of the annual Valdai Discussion Club.
Moscow City Duma Deputy Andrey Medvedev in November called for the total
“liquidation of Ukrainian statehood in its current form.”
But several Russians do not want to see such a liquidation of a state of their brothers. It alsobothers them that the Russian government does not want to provide medicines for the ravaged areas. Many are becoming to find the human cost of this ‘Russian operation’ is much too high.
Russian construction workers have started the complete dismantling of the Azovie neighborhood of Russia-occupied Mariupol, including unbroken houses, to build “elite” homes, according to Petro Andryshchenko, an advisor to the city’s mayor.
The people who dare to speak about Russian war crimes are also in danger to be caught. In Rusland it may not be said that the Russian military has already committed 66,743 war crimes and crimes of aggression in Ukraine since the start of Russia’s all-out war.
Due to Western-imposed sanctions, popular foreign companies have left the Russian market, pushing Russian residents to order goods online from abroad. Meanwhile, Russians themselves started leaving their country amid military subscription: 9,7 million people left Russia in July-September, 12% more than during the same period a year before.
The Russian LGBT Network has been around for more than 15 years. They help provide legal and psychological assistance to LGBT+ people across the country, support various initiatives and organizations, lend emergency assistance in crisis situations, and engage in monitoring and advocacy. Shutting them down will leave those who rely on our assistance without support.
Your signature will help raise awareness about their case.
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