May 01, 2023

Sweet Discrediting


Sweet Discrediting
Anti-war cakes bakery_xoxo / Instagram

A court in Moscow fined pastry chef Anastasia Chernysheva for cakes with anti-war slogans. The pastry chef was accused of "discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation" and was ordered to pay an R35,000 ($435) fine.

Chernysheva, whose business was featured in Russian Life's Winter Issue, is a 22-year-old resident of Moscow, has an Instagram account with 29,000 subscribers. There she publishes her anti-war and anti-Putin cakes. In particular, there are photos of a cake with the flag of Ukraine and the phrase in Ukrainian, "Lyubov peremozhe" (love will win), mini-cakes with slogans "Putin will die, but we will stay" and "Russia will be free."

According to the BBC, Anastasia said she started the confectionery business four years ago and began making anti-war and protest cakes in March 2022. "When rallies became impossible, I started baking cakes and writing texts there. This is life in Russia. You could be afraid or you could choose not to be afraid. I made the decision not to be afraid," she told BBC reporters.

Novaya Gazeta Europe reported that the pastry chef was fined after a denunciation provoked by the pro-Kremlin TV channel Tsargrad (owned by the oligarch Konstantin Malofeev). After that, Anastasia also began receiving threats.

Denunciations have become a mass phenomenon since Russia began its War on Ukraine. According to the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, over six months in 2022, Russians submitted some 145,000 denunciations. Most concerned posting "illegal information" on the internet, including "fakes" about Russia’s war against Ukraine and "pro-Ukrainian propaganda."

Many informers are one-time stool pigeons. But there are some who make a habit of it, like 39-year-old Vitaly Borodin. In 2021 he filed a complaint against the independent media Proekt, and, after Russia invaded Ukraine, he started to write denunciations of Russian celebrities: actress Liya Akhedzhakova, artist Simon Slepakov, singer Valery Meladze, and many others.

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