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Russians speak out against the war and remind us to stand up for what’s right

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VALYA EGORSHIN | NURPHOTO | AFP

Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/26/22

There are times we must stand up and make our voices heard, and this applies to our children, too.

It’s not easy to face confrontation and risk your life for what you believe to be right. However, many citizens of Russia have taken to the streets throughout the country to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

These citizens risk jail, and maybe even their lives, to have their voices heard. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Kremlin issued a warning to anybody daring to openly criticize President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war. “‘Negative comments’ about Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine would be treated as ‘treason.'”

However, this threat hasn’t stopped Russian citizens flooding to the streets to protest. Over 1,000 people reportedly marched by the Kremlin chanting “No to war!” and were promptly taken into custody. Further protests have taken place in other large cities, including Putin’s home city of St. Petersburg.

This video posted by Стоян Михалев/Stoyan Mihalev shows crowds chanting “Русия е против войната!” or “Russia is against the war.”

Yekaterina Kuznetsova, a 40-year-old engineer who participated in the protest, shared: “This is the most shameful and terrible day in my life. I even was not able to go to work. My country is an aggressor. I hate Putin. What else should be done to make people open their eyes?”

And Dmitry Muratov, the editor of Russia’s only anti-Putin newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, is bravely planning to publish the next edition of his newspaper in Russian and Ukrainian in a show of support, stating: “We do not recognize Ukraine as an enemy.”

The courage of these Russians in calling out the aggressive decision of their leader is a reminder to us all that when things aren’t right we can’t just sit around and do nothing. We have to stand up and make our voices heard, and this applies to our children, too. We have to encourage them to speak out against the bullies in the classroom, to stand for what Is right, and to defend those who can’t defend themselves.

It’s not easy, it’s sometimes very frightening, but we have many inspiring examples in the Catholic faith of people who made their voices heard so that others could live in peace and freedom.

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