Vandals raid homes of prominent Russian anti-war activists

Prominent figures in Russian opposition circles have been subjected to a wave of vandalism at their homes over the past two days.

Editor of the banned radio news channel Ekho Moskvy Alexei Venediktov, Saint Petersburg activist Daria Heikinen and volunteer Kristina Vorotnikova were all victims of attacks on their homes.

“This morning, I found a pile of manure under my door. The vandals also wrote “Traitor” on the door in red paint. They also filled the locks with an unknown substance and coated the door handle with something,” Heikinen told the Moscow Times.

Kristina Vorotnikova, who worked with Alexei Navalny’s former assistant Irina Fatyanova, also came under a similar attack by vandals, suggesting it was carried out by the same perpetrators. She found manure on her doormat with inscriptions about a “treason of the fatherland”.

“This situation is related to my anti-war stance,” Heikinen, an activist who heads the St. Petersburg-based Mayak activist group, said after the incident.

Since Russia invaded pro-Western Ukraine last month, the Kremlin has suppressed opposition to the war effort, with President Putin castigate those who spoke out against the war calling them “traitors” and “scum”.

Meanwhile, a pig’s head was left outside the home of Alexei Venediktov, editor of the iconic liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy. A sticker of the Ukrainian coat of arms with the phrase “Jewish pig” was stuck on his front door.

The anti-Semitic attack on Venediktov, who has Jewish ancestry, comes amid a Russian invasion of Ukraine that Kremlin officials aim to “demilitarize” and “denazify” its pro-Western neighbor. On Friday, President Vladimir Putin said that “in Russia there is no place for ethnic intolerance”.

In a bid to suppress reports of what the Kremlin called a “special military operation”, Russia blocked access to the country’s independent media channels, shutting down Venediktov’s Ekho Moskvy and destroying the site. The station had been on the air in Russia since 1990.

The decision to smear her house with manure came as no surprise to Heikenen, who says she and other activists have already fallen prey to such attacks.

“Given the fact that these ‘surprises’ have happened to other activists, it wasn’t exactly unexpected,” Heikenen said.

“In early March, a criminal case was brought against me because of my anti-war stance, so we expected the attacks to continue,” she said in a phone interview with the Moscow Times. .

“So I can’t say that I was very surprised or scared. And in general, the manure at your front door is not very scary at all.

Russia news

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