Staunton, Nov. 9 – Since February 24 when Vladimir Putin launched his expanded invasion of Ukraine, Russian officials have acknowledged that “no fewer than 70” military commissariats and other administrative buildings have been attacked and most cases firebombed, according to a joint report by the Avtozaklive telegram channel and Moscow News.
These actions have taken place in 42 federal subjects, most often in small cities and more rarely in oblast centers, but because its population is largest, Moscow has led with a total of seven attacks within its borders (t.me/avtozaklive/16659 reposted at kasparov.ru/material.php?id=636BA660EB162).
Such attacks and their spread constitute a violent underside of Russian protests against the war in Ukraine and are in themselves a measure of just how opposed many Russians are to the war and mobilization for it and how willing they are to engage in actions that almost certainly will prompt the authorities to increase repression, possibly with popular support.
According to the joint report, “new fewer than 37” people have been detained for the attacks, more than half of whom are under 30, the cohort most at risk of mobilization. Some were arrested after carrying out these attacks, while others were detained before they could carry out their plans.
Most of the fires were quickly put out, but “at a minimum,” this report says, in five cases there was serious damage to the buildings. Only in one case were firearms and someone wounded, but in another case, pneumatic weapons were employed and fired at the building rather than at any individual.
In at least one case, in Bashkortostan, the attacks came after activists called on people to attack the commissariats to block mobilization. On September 21, the anonymous Telegram channel “The Committee of Bashkir Resistance” announced itself and declared that the goal of its members is that “Bashkortostan will be free” (verstka.media/vooruzhennoe-soprotivlenie-bashkortostana/).
Two days later, the channel called for firebombing military commissariats in order to prevent the mobilization of Bashkirs; and on September 24, someone threw a fire bomb at the offices of United Russia in the Bashkir city of Salavat. That was followed on October 3 by the firebombing of the KPRF offices there.