‘Terrorists’ act of defiance was just someone’s laundry
Police wrote to the complainant: 'Dear Alena, the blanket was taken down.'
A blanket left to dry on a balcony appears to have caused such paranoia in a Russian city that police were forced to intervene.
Residents in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine in the south, were left in a state of shock when they spotted the balcony on the last floor of an apartment block with its outer rim painted in yellow.
A picture circulating on social media shows a blue blanket hanging on a washing line above, making it to look like a Ukrainian flag.
But a second one shared later shows the blanket no longer there.
Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine, posted them on Twitter, claiming that a resident reported the incident.
Screenshots show a woman named Alena Kargapolova sending the picture to the Belgorod security department.
Less than an hour later, a reply to her message read: ‘Dear Alena, the blanket was taken down.’
‘In Russian Belgorod, a woman reported a blue blanket on a yellow balcony to the local security department,’ Gerashchenko said.
‘She wrote that “measures need to be taken”. Shortly after, she received thanks for her vigilance and a report that the blanket was taken down, accompanied by a photo. Russian paranoia is blooming.’
It is the latest show of how Russia has turned into a spy state where residents are indoctrinated into snitching on each other to authorities over ordinary actions like hanging the washing to dry.
Vladimir Putin and his allies have for almost two years now used fear as a tool of control of the nation.
Russia continues to crack down on the anti-war movement at home, employing various repressive laws and practices.
‘Repression in Russia runs deep where a complex and extensive range of tactics are increasingly being weaponized to silence anti-war dissent,’ Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International’s Russia researcher, said earlier this year, while commenting on the heavy reprisals of some 20,000 activists.
‘Peaceful protesters against the war in Ukraine and those who share critical information about the Russian armed forces face severe criminal, administrative and other sanctions.
‘New, absurd laws that criminalize those who freely express their views have been adopted and immediately put to use.
‘The flawed criminal justice system, characterized by deeply unfair trials, has been deployed to dish out prison sentences and hefty fines to silence critics in response to slightest dissent.’
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