Russia: Intimidation grows against opponents

The “Z” or “collaborator” sign on the doors of homes, an anti-Semitic message: In recent days intimidation has multiplied against opponents and critics of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

A supporter of imprisoned opponent Alexei Navalny, Ilya Pakhomov, on Wednesday evening, posted a photo on Twitter showing the door to his house in Russia vandalized with the letters “Z” painted in white paint.

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This message is a sign of support for Russian forces fighting in Ukraine as it is painted on many military vehicles.

These tags are accompanied by a poster with a picture of the activist crossed out with the word “COLLABORATOR”. The poster also reads “Don’t sell your country.”

France Press agency

This letter also carries the number of two articles of the Russian Criminal Code, recently adopted, which provide for harsh prison sentences for spreading “false information” about the Russian army or for acts of “discrediting” the latter.

“I have already seen this (these threats) on social networks, and it is clearly an organized procedure + from above +. I will file a police report,” this activist replied on Twitter.

Opposition Lyudmila Stein posted a photo on her Twitter account on Thursday of a similar poster with her picture affixed to the door. “Well, if you say so…” she commented.

On March 24, Alexei Venediktov, the former editor-in-chief of the independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, which was recently forced to close, was treated to a decapitated pig’s head in front of his door with the emblem of Ukraine with an inscription in it. German “judensau”: “Jewish pig.”

Four days later, on the door of the house of Oleg Orlov, an official of the non-governmental organization “Memorial”, one of the pillars of the defense of human rights in Russia, the letter “Z” was marked with the letter “Z” and decorated with a label “Cooperator”.

In response to a question by AFP about this, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described these facts Thursday as “bad people committed by saboteurs” and stressed that the victims can contact the police.

Since the attack on Ukraine on February 24, the Russian authorities have stepped up pressure on the latest independent and opposition media outlets living in Russia.

In mid-March, President Vladimir Putin called him to “self-cleansing” of society in the face of “patriotic traitors”.

At the same time, the letter “Z” in support of the Kremlin and its attack in Ukraine is displayed on buildings in Moscow, and flags are adorned at pro-authority rallies or car doors.

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