© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is seen on screen via a video link from the IK-2 correctional penal colony in Pokrov during a trial to consider appealing his prison sentence in Moscow, Russia May 24, 2022. REUTERS / Evgen
TBILISI (Reuters) – Russia’s opposition on Wednesday called for protests against President Vladimir Putin after he ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reservists for what Kremlin foe Alexei Navalny said was a criminal war failed.
On Wednesday, Mr Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization of forces since World War Two and backed a plan to annex Ukrainian territory, warning the West that he was not lying when he said he would be ready. ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
Navalny, Russia’s most famous opposition leader now in prison, said Putin sent more Russians to their deaths because of a failed war.
“It’s clear that the crime war is getting worse, deeper and deeper and Putin is trying to get as many people as possible into this,” Navalny said in a video from the prison run by his lawyers. he recorded and published.
“He wants to smear hundreds of thousands of people in this bloodline,” said Navalny.
Since the February 24 invasion, Putin has cracked down on dissent and the media, with thousands arrested in anti-war demonstrations and a new law requiring sentencing. 15 years in prison for those who spread “fake news” about the military.
Russian state television views critics as traitors who are being paid the price by the West. Putin said that the country is at war with the West over Ukraine, which, according to him, the US and its allies are using these weapons in an attempt to destroy Russia.
Russian anti-war groups have called for street protests against the mobilization order.
“This means that thousands of Russian men – our fathers, brothers and husbands – will be thrown into the meat grinder of war,” the anti-war coalition Vesna said. “Now, war has come to every home and every family.”
It called on Russians to take to the streets in major cities on Wednesday.
In the days after the start of the war, riot police cracked down on nightly street protests, arresting at least 16,000 protesters, according to the rights group OVD-Info.