Moscow -

As usual, at sensitive historical junctures, Russian society is divided between supporters and opponents of state decisions, and the special military operation of the Russian army in Ukraine constituted a test of the attitude of the Russian street towards the dramatic developments with the neighboring country.

Although the voice opposing the war was not clearly present in the public scene during the phase of political and diplomatic escalation between Moscow and the West, the start of military operations in Ukraine and talk about civilian deaths in it prompted many representatives of public opinion in Russia to express their own position on the operations circuit there.

no to war

The artistic and cultural milieu in Russia has a remarkable role in expressing the rejection of the war in Ukraine, and historically recognizes their ability to influence public opinion in the country, even in often contradictory directions, and even exceed the influence of politicians and decision-makers, as happened during the period of perestroika that ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. .

Hundreds of actors, artists and singers, along with human rights scientists and athletes from different regions of Russia, announced their position on social networks against the war in Ukraine, posting black boxes and short posts under the title "No to war."

Russian director and screenwriter Simon Slepakov (social networking sites)

Among them are a large number of famous people, such as TV presenters Maxim Galkin, Alexander Gudkov, Ivan Urgant, bloggers Karina Kross and Anastasia Ivleeva, rapper Morgenstern, singers Igor Creed and Rita Dakota, journalists Ilya Krasilchik and Sergey Yerzhenkokov, actresses Sabina Akhmedova, Vararontromyk and another Shpu.

They demanded an immediate end to the war, and some described the military operation in Ukraine as a disgrace.

"For several hours I did not understand what kind of parallel world I live in, I am very worried, very worried about my relatives, friends and colleagues, in social networks I receive messages one after another about what is happening now, very diverse messages," said Catherine Varnava, a well-known theater and film actress and TV presenter. From requests not to remain silent about the war, to personal accusations and threats.

"I watch war videos and comments about how terrifying it is, and believe me, we are as scared as you are, shocked, pained and ashamed. Why is all this happening? Why? There will be no victor in the war if things continue like this."

As for the director and screenwriter Simon Slipakov, he said - in an appeal to President Vladimir Putin - that "Ukrainians and Russians are one cultural entity, and we do not need to explain to each other what our Western partners will never understand."

A residential area in Kyiv following a night bombardment by Russian forces on February 25 (European News Agency)

Human rights activist Marina Litvinovich also called on all opponents of the military operation in Donbass to go to their city centers to express their protest.

Moreover, more than 100 mayor deputies from Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities appealed to citizens to condemn the war against Ukraine that began a few days ago.

Misleading accusations

But the opinions rejecting the war were met with criticism by some Russian officials, in what appears to be an indication of sensitivity to any division within the Russian street towards the military operation in Ukraine and to ensure that the situation is unified. The Speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, said that those who oppose the military operation Russian in Ukraine "misguided".

"It is, of course, possible to think about some momentary problems or temporary living difficulties that may arise, but it is not permissible not to think about the security of such a large and very important country on the world stage, and not to think that one day it will be possible," RIA Novosti quoted Matvienko as saying. For someone to attack the sovereignty of our country and the oil and gas fields, which we have heard time and time again, as well as disrupting our peaceful life."

On the other hand, a large segment of the Russian cultural and artistic elite supports the military operation in Ukraine, and refuses to view it as a war against the Ukrainian people but as a military operation for self-defense against what it considers Ukraine's involvement in the aggressive projects of NATO, in its opinion.

It is noteworthy that the calls for street protests against the war in Ukraine come while many Russian cities are still subject to movement restrictions due to the Corona virus, which prohibits, among other things, the organization of mass gatherings, and the need to coordinate any mass movements with local authorities, otherwise there is a risk of exposure for administrative accountability.