The EconomistThe Economist

The invasion has stalled, but Putin’s war on dissent marches on

20 Feb 2023 · 8 min read

Since the start of the war, around 20,000 Russians have been arrested for protesting it. The Economist reports that some parts of Russian society are as closed and repressive as during the Soviet era.

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Editor’s note: This is one of a series of daily articles we will be publishing in the run-up to the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th. See the rest of our coverage

TANKS DID put a stop to Grigory Sverdlin’s career in the end—but not in the way he expected. In 2017 Mr Sverdlin, who until recently ran one of Russia’s largest and oldest charities, the Shelter, was talking to a local official in St Petersburg about homelessness in the city. It was clear that the activism of groups like his, and civil society more generally, alarmed the authorities. “If you don’t keep quiet, we will run you over with a tank,” the bureaucrat warned him.

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