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Video: Hundreds of Russians erupt into anti-Putin protest at concert

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin (Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Released)
May 23, 2022

Hundreds of concert attendees in St. Petersburg, Russia broke into a chant of “fuck war” on Friday in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing military invasion of Ukraine.

Lyubov Sobol, a Russian political activist and associate of noted Putin-critic Alexei Navalny tweeted a video on Friday showing attendees at a concert for Russian pop-punk band Kis Kis chanting “khuy voynê” (хуй войнє) which translates to “fuck war” in English.

“Petersberg concert. The whole hall is chanting ‘fuck war!'” Sobol tweeted. “By the way, the idea that all Russians support Putin is not true!”

It is not yet clear what will happen to the band or the Russian concertgoers who joined in the chant.

Thousands of Russians have already been charged for voicing opposition to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. As of Sunday, the independent Russian publication Novaya Gazeta reported some 2,029 people in Russia have been charged with making comments “discrediting” the Russian military.

Yuri Shevchuk, the frontman for the Russian rock band DDT, is currently being prosecuted for a speech he recently gave condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a concert.

“Now people of Ukraine are being murdered. For what? Our boys are dying over there. For what? What are the goals, my friends?” Shevchuk said during his May 18 speech.

Shevchuk said people from both Russia and Ukraine are dying for “some Napoleonic plans of another Caesar of ours.”

“The motherland, my friends, is not the president’s ass that has to be constantly kissed and comforted,” Shevchuk added. “Motherland is the beggar grandma at a railway station, trying to sell potatoes. That’s motherland.”

The Moscow Times reported authorities arrested Shevchuk at the concert venue after the show. He too is being charged with “discrediting” Russia’s military and faces a fine of 50,000 rubles ($800) if he is found guilty.

While some Russians have voiced opposition to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the vast majority of the Russian public has told pollsters they support the ongoing invasion. In a poll conducted by Active Group in March, 86.6 percent of Russian respondents told the polling firm they support the war and 75 percent even said Russia should take on Poland next.

Another poll conducted by the Chicago Council and Russia’s Levada Center later on in March found that 53 percent of the Russian respondents surveyed showed strong support for the war in Ukraine and 28 percent somewhat supported the invasion. Just 14 percent were opposed and six percent declined to answer. The poll also found that Russians who primarily got their news from online news sites, social media, friends and family were less likely to support the war in Ukraine compared to those who consume television, radio and print news publications, which are predominantly state-run in Russia.