News20,000 dissenters jailed in Russia amid war with Ukraine: A silent battlefront

20,000 dissenters jailed in Russia amid war with Ukraine: A silent battlefront

In Russia, 20 thousand opponents of the war and government decisions have already been arrested.
In Russia, 20 thousand opponents of the war and government decisions have already been arrested.
Images source: © Getty Images | Ignatiev

6:28 AM EDT, April 26, 2024

Over 20,000 people. That's the estimated number of residents in Russia who may have been imprisoned for protesting or opposing the war, actions that did not align with the authorities' stance. Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the Putin regime has actively suppressed any form of dissent.

The war in Ukraine has now been raging for over two years. In this period, significant changes occurred in both Ukraine and Russia. Yet, what remains constant is the punishment meted out by Putin's Russia to those citizens brave enough to voice their opposition to the escalation. It is believed that up to 20,000 individuals have been arrested for their dissent.

Many of those currently behind bars were arrested in the early stages of the war in Ukraine. This was when massive protests erupted across Russian cities, reminiscent of, yet not as extensive as, those witnessed in 2014. These demonstrations made a significant impact on Western observers.

Russia imposes up to 15 years in prison for war opposition

The extent of punishments in Putin's Russia is staggering. Even the slightest hint of dissatisfaction with the military actions can serve as a pretext for harsh arrests, particularly noticeable at the start of the invasion in 2022 when dissent was more vocal.

Subsequently, Russian authorities swiftly amended the law, banning any criticism of the armed forces or the so-called "special military operation," a term used by Putin's proponents for the war in Ukraine.

In a rapid reaction to dissent, Russia also implemented a law to justify this crackdown by the police. According to this law, anyone found "discrediting" the Russian army and its operations could face up to 15 years in prison.

As a result, many Russians now find themselves incarcerated, sharing cells with criminals of all stripes. A notable portion of these prisoners are young and educated.

Those who evade the judicial system often face job dismissal or expulsion from educational institutions. Imposing hefty fines is a common method of enforcing compliance.

Hence, numerous individuals who dissent from Kremlin policies often resort to silence, lacking viable alternatives. The authorities ruthlessly quashed any expression of dissent, precisely as President Vladimir Putin prefers.

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