War Notes: Thousands of Protesters Arrested in Russia; and More . . .

Reuters- More than 4,500 antiwar protesters arrested in one day in Russia, group says


On March 6, antiwar protesters were beaten with batons as they were arrested by Russian police in Yekaterinburg, Russia. (Reuters)

By Brittany Shammas and Reis Thebault
 — March 6 2022

More than 4,500 protesters were arrested Sunday at antiwar demonstrations across Russia, according to the independent human rights organization OVD-Info, as people risked jail time to denounce the nation’s war with Ukraine.

The scenes joined other displays of defiance in a country that has continued to clamp down on opposition to the invasion. Crowds chanted “No to war!” while streaming through Moscow and St. Petersburg in a pair of videos posted to Twitter. In another, a demonstrator being hauled away by law enforcement sang Ukraine’s anthem.

A woman was recorded telling a police officer she had survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad, the former name of St. Petersburg, and lost both her parents. Another woman added, “We have relatives, we have friends in Ukraine.”

“You came to support fascists?” the officer responded, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s justification for the war.

“What fascists?” the crowd asked.

The officer then gave an order: “Arrest everyone.”

Authorities on Sunday arrested at least 4,640 people across 56 cities in Russia, reported OVD-Info, which was declared a foreign agent by Russian authorities last year during Putin’s sweeping suppression of activists, rights groups and opposition figures. The group reported multiple instances of excessive force against protesters, including beatings and use of stun guns.

Among those detained were 13 journalists and 113 juveniles.
Russia’s interior ministry said earlier Sunday that police had arrested more than 3,500 people “for taking part in unauthorized rallies” in Moscow, St. Petersburg and elsewhere. The agency warned protesters that authorities would continue to target demonstrations and their organizers.

Love & War

John Stephens, who Zoomed with Kyiv Friends from Virginia

Quaker Bulletin, From Our Far-Flung Correspondents: John Stephens, northern Virginia USA:
I attended morning worship with the Friends in Kyiv at 2:15am our time last night.

Over 120 Friends from around the globe were connected on Zoom. Many of those were from Australia and New Zealand, but there were folks from Europe, and even a couple others from the U.S.

What was most striking to me was how “same” it was to any other unprogrammed Quaker gathering. They really were the same as us, all over-at least it seemed .. . .

Looking around the Zoom room, especially when someone spoke, it was almost like: “Hey, we have that guy in our Yearly Meeting, only with a different

From: “I’m a Cold War Historian. We’re in a Frightening New Era.”
By Mary Elise Sarotte, professor of historical studies at Johns Hopkins University

New York Times: The longevity of the [First] Cold War also gave both sides time and incentive to negotiate arms control agreements. Washington and its allies concluded a host of detailed treaties with Moscow that, while flawed, at least provided predictability and monitoring — all while serving to build a long-term relationship in managing nuclear danger.

In recent years, however, both sides rashly shed many of these accords, seeing them as outdated and inconveniently constraining. The New START Treaty is now the only restraint on the number and types of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons — and it expires in 2026, with little hope of renewal.

Already gone are the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which George W. Bush abrogated in 2002, and the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, from which Mr. Putin “suspended” Russian participation in 2007. And, most relevant to today’s crisis, in 2019 President Donald Trump abrogated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty over U.S. claims of Russian violations and Chinese arms buildup (though China was not a party to the treaty).

Signed by President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty eliminated that class of weapons entirely. Now that it is no more, Mr. Putin claims to fear that the alliance could deploy such weapons on Ukrainian territory against Russian targets. He has cited that possibility, along with denying that Ukraine is a separate country, among his motivations for invading Ukraine.

Even if Moscow can be brought back to the negotiating table, which seems highly unlikely for the foreseeable future, it would take years of painstaking talks to resurrect these treaties. Their disappearance is especially grievous in light of other losses — of military-to-military communication, expelled embassy and consulate staff members — and the development of new forms of weapons, such as hypersonic missiles and cyberwarfare. Two of the world’s largest military powers are now functioning in near-total isolation from each other, which is a danger to everyone.

Another problem is cultural. The threat of thermonuclear conflict was omnipresent for those who came of age during the Cold War. Yet after decades of peace between the West and Russia, that collective cultural awareness has largely dissipated — even though the threat of nuclear conflict remains, and has, in the past week, ramped back up to levels unseen since the Cold War.

The Russian president has now definitively put an end to the post-Cold War era, which rested on an assumption that major European land wars were gone for good. . . .

Becoming a historian requires the ability to develop a sense of periodization. I sense a period ending. I am now deeply afraid that Mr. Putin’s recklessness may cause the years between the Cold War and the Covid-19 pandemic to seem a halcyon period to future historians, compared with what came after. I fear we may find ourselves missing the old Cold War.


2 thoughts on “War Notes: Thousands of Protesters Arrested in Russia; and More . . .”

  1. Read Whittier’s flowery verse but does not answer the question what Quakers would do if their town was surrounded and shelled by Russian tanks. Would like to read some discussion on that.

    1. Good point, Signe. Based on experience and study, here’s my summary. Three main responses:
      1. Leave.
      2. Fight to the end.
      3. Surrender.
      Looks like that’s what’s happening in Ukraine, maybe in that order.
      During the U. S. Civil War, many Quakers lived in central North Carolina. That period has many parallels to now, in my view. We have stories of responses by the young men, “draft age”: many hid in the woods from the Confederate army recruiters; some of those were captured, but refused to fight, and were kept as prisoners, treated roughly, even til the end of the war. Other families managed to gather their possessions and hightail it west, to “peaceful” places like Indiana, as many had before them. Some men ran northward, til they found the Union army (it was long trek, underground RR style), surrendered, then joined up. Maybe some others gave in and joined the Confederate forces, though I have not heard that. The women & kids survived, or didn’t.
      At the war’s end, devastation and hunger were general. The Reconstruction and its baleful aftermath have never ended.

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