Mikhail Khodorkovsky says Russians should protest against Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. © AFP
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian billionaire who spent a decade in prison for opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin, is calling on Russian citizens to take to the streets of their cities in protest against the Kremlin’s six-month-old war against Ukraine.
The statement appeared on Khodorkovsky’s personal website on Aug. 28, the same day that NATO released a couple of satellite images that show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside Ukraine.
“We’re fighting with Ukraine – in real. We’re sending military forces and vehicles there. Ukrainians fight good, but started backing down. The forces are not equal,” reads the post.
During the six months of Russia’s war against Ukraine, starting with the Crimean invasion, the nation has lost 722 servicemen and more than 2,000 civilians, according to official count.Kyiv Post+ provides special coverage of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the EuroMaidan Revolution.
Khodorkovsky also pointed that the Russian government lies about the situation. In the meantime, Russian diplomats keep denying Russian involvement in events that unfold in Ukrainian eastern oblasts, despite the international evidence.
Russian representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin said on Aug. 28 that “no Russian involvement has been spotted, there are no soldiers or equipment present.”
“We do not deliver it there. The allegations that there are columns with armored vehicles, that was voiced last week does not make any sense,” Kelin was quoted as saying.
Khodorkovsky brushed off such statements.
“Our government was lying about Afghanistan in the ‘80s and about Chechnya in the ‘90s. While today they lie about Ukraine as we bury our former colleagues, friends and relatives, who are now fighting on both sides and killing each other, not because they want to, but because of an aging power that always needs blood,” Khodorkovsky wrote.
Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky says that he is certain that Russians “can stop what is happening.” The solution as he sees it comes with the protest. “I don’t want to keep silence anymore,” he wrote.
Later that day, Solidarity movement activist Dmitriy Monakhov went to Moscow’s central Manezh Square and called for a criminal investigation against Putin.
“I am Russian. Not cattle. Not a killer. And I am not an occupier. I am ashamed that Putin is my president. At 9 p.m., I will go to Manezh against the war,” Monakhov tweeted. His tweet was shared nearly 3,000 times.
The police officers detained the activist even though single-person rallies are not banned in Russia.
(Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Goncharova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).