Echoes of Stalin can be heard in Moscow as Russians are asked to inform their anti-war friends


Russians are asked to denounce people who speak out against Vladimir Putin and his war Ukrainein echoes of the darker days of the Soviet Union.

Telephone hotlines, websites and channels of the Telegram news service have been set up so that “good citizens” can report “traitors” to their friends, neighbors and colleagues.

The atmosphere has been compared to the years of fear under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, whose regime encouraged people to inform others because they did not express pro-Communist views clearly enough.

A 22-year-old Russian shop assistant told reporters she spent 24 hours in a jail cell after expressing her anti-war views to a stranger during an evening in a Moscow bar.

“It was just a chat,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “He was very upset that we didn’t share his opinion and started arguing, saying that Putin and the war were absolutely right.”

The man was thrown out, but an hour later the police arrived and the woman and her friends were told to go outside.

“They came for us,” she said.

The woman was held in a cell overnight and fined for “discrediting the Russian armed forces”.

“In Russia now it’s like 1937: people are afraid and inform each other,” said Alexandra Baeva, head of the legal department of the human rights group OVD-Info.

Several regions of Russia send text messages to public phones with instructions on how to view people.

SMS messages sent from Kaliningrad linked to a Telegram site page titled “For Truth,” which was decorated with an orange and black Z, the symbol used to show support for Russia’s brutal show invasion.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022] Echoes of Stalin can be heard in Moscow as Russians are asked to inform their anti-war friends

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