“Two years of my life, stolen, for a social media post. Before I even have to serve my prison sentence. It’s hell.” With her hunger strike, she wants to draw attention to all political prisoners who await their imprisonment in Russia for years under house arrest. “My demand is simple: I ask the government to the man. Do you want to judge me? Fine. I am ready for my trouble. I am not asking for release, but for a speedy and fair trial, ”Tsvetkova writes.
“Yulia, you are a heroine!” Can we read in the comments. And: “This is modern Russia; a young girl has more honor and dignity than the state and its security forces.”
The words of the two young women differ in a Russia where there is less and less room for a different opinion. In view of the parliamentary elections in September this year, repression in Russia is intensifying. For example, the organization of opposition leader Navalny was recently closed. Critical media have also been gagged, and numerous new laws were passed this week to make it easier to prosecute those who sympathize with the opposition.
Still broad support for Putin
More than three hundred thousand people have signed online petitions for the release of Misiks and Tsvetkova. But it doesn’t seem like these types of individual manifestations really trigger anything. Many young people are unhappy with Putin and recent developments, according to the Levada Research Center, but the vast majority – around 65% – still support their president.
Misik and Tsvetkova didn’t have much hope that their protest will actually change anything. “Am I afraid of dying? I think so,” writes Tsvetkova. “But I have nothing more to lose. I have already lost my job, my friends and my life and all I have is my dignity.”
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”