A year into the Ukraine war, Russians quietly call for peace

Despite strict government censorship and the threat of jail, residents of Russia’s capital are finding subtle ways to express alarm and dissent about the Kremlin’s year-long offensive in Ukraine.

The messages are barely visible but omnipresent throughout Moscow – scrawled on signposts, graffitied on walls, or pasted as stickers on drain pipes.

“Write. Speak. Don’t be silent about the war!” is the plea of one Muscovite who carved the words into a wooden bench partially covered in snow in the centre of the capital.

“No to war” and “Resist” are other popular refrains for people opposed to the fighting, penned and scribbled around the city.


These are now dangerous words in Russia and are punishable with long prison sentences.

And they are hardly a match for the loud and ostentatious government-approved signs around Moscow backing the conflict.

The Kremlin calls its intervention in Ukraine – launched on February 24 – a “special military operation” and other characterisations deemed unsuitable by authorities could meet legal action.

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After stamping out the political opposition, Russia’s authorities are now seeking to control the domestic narrative around its decision to send troops to Ukraine.

Even a sticker with the words “peace for the world”, such as one seen on the door to a Moscow metro station, could lead to problems with the law.

The smallest acts of resistance can have major consequences, like for artist Alexandra Skochilenko.

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