February 29, 2024

"Small" Acts of Protest Keep Anti-War Effort Alive


"Small" Acts of Protest Keep Anti-War Effort Alive
An example of subtle protest art integrated into everyday Russian life.  NoWobble.net.

Russian protestors and artists against the war in Ukraine are going to great lengths to express their dissent while avoiding being prosecuted for their views. A collection of anonymous works is now available online.

Last year, artist Alexandra Arkhipova began collecting instances of "small" protests: graffiti on city streets, stickers left on supermarket shelves, action figures carrying tiny signs photographed on playgrounds. These pictures can be found on her website "Nyet Voblye" or "No Wobble," (or literally “No Dried Fish”) play on the widespread slogan "No to War." Along with the pictures, she has assembled the stories of protestors who hope to keep making their voices heard. One such story is of a St. Petersburg citizen who places dolls around the city at night, hoping they will be found by children the next day, who will bring them home without noticing the yellow and blue ribbons in their hair. Others paste stickers on lampposts with lines of protest poetry by Osip Mandelstam or Bulat Okudzhava

Arkhipova hopes that passersby will notice the small acts of protest and know that they have "invisible allies."

The legal consequences of being discovered by the authorities are real: Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, over 8,055 charges of "discrediting" the army have been filed in local courts, and in the first six months of 2023 alone, 21 people were convicted of "disseminating false information" about the war. 

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