- Many Russian artists have long faced the threat of persecution for not supporting official stances, but their criticism of the war put them in danger of imprisonment.
- Many artists said they were also worried about the integrity of their work in President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which has increasingly suppressed free speech and expression.
- Many artists in Russia work for theaters that are fully or partially funded through the Russian state, leaving them particularly vulnerable to censorship.
KOTKA, Finland – Two days after Russia invaded Ukraine, a bearded and distraught-looking Ivan Nikolaev, 35, posted a video on YouTube, denouncing President Vladimir Putin for the attack.
“Innocent Ukrainian citizens are being murdered as Russia continues to occupy an independent state of Ukraine,” Nikolaev said. “As citizens of Russia, we are all involved in this military crime.”