Lyubov Lukashenko, a Muscovite, was sentenced by the court for an anti-war picket on Manezhnaya Square. She was found guilty of the so-called “discrediting of the armed forces of the Russian Federation” and violation of the established procedure for organizing the rally. The activist was sentenced to a fine and corrective labor. The judge also decided to destroy badges with protest symbols belonging to the activist. After the rally in support of the political prisoner Azat Miftahov, the police came to her apartment and demanded that the public rallies be stopped.
Lyubov Lukashenko together with her friend Oksana Osadcha regularly go on pickets in support of political prisoners. The actions of these young people are one of the few manifestations of protest activity in Russia. Lyubov Lukashenko told Radio Svoboda about her choice to stay in Russia, doubts and faith.
– Why do you always go out on pickets together with Oksana?
– Oksana generates cool ideas for actions, and I implement them. She is one of my few friends left in Moscow. Because almost all of my entourage left: comrades from the LevSD organization, and other activist friends, my close people. This time we decided to hold a picket at Manezhka. It was a gesture of desperation and a risk that we needed. We are always ready to be detained, but before we were lucky and were not detained. Oksana was standing with a poster. Since she is blind, we sign the posters in braille. This time I wrote the phrase “One and a half years of senseless shameful war”. I painted the word “war” with watercolors, there were blood streams, I drew the letter “o” in the form of a grave. Posters are my greatest et: when I draw them, I always come up with something new. I took photos and filmed the action on video. I also planned to stand with a poster in my hands, but I didn’t have time, because the police approached us. Not far from us, the NODovtsi held their action, but the police did not react to them in any way. I used to like to talk to them as a joke, but now I don’t have the strength for it. As far as I understood, they demanded to return his powers to the president, because, according to the representatives of this movement, his power is now limited in ping laws. We stood with the poster for ten minutes. When I asked the police why they did not detain the NODovtsev, they told me that their rally was coordinated. The police did not say anything about my remark that a single picket should not be coordinated.
– Now there are very few anti-war actions. How did persby react to your picket in the center of Moscow?
– Pers-by in Moscow usually do not react in any way, they are always in a hurry and busy with their own affairs. Only one girl during the picket on Manezhnaya Square asked us if we were afraid. She was positive towards us. When we were detained, she wished us luck. In Kolomensk, at the picket in support of Azat Myftakhov, we met more support from pers-by.
It was a gesture of desperation and a risk that we needed
– Isn’t it scary for you to participate in such actions?
– We are aware of all the risks and understand that we will most likely be detained. Of course, I’m scared, but it’s more important for me to fight. I cannot do otherwise – this is my position. I have an understanding of debt. If all the activists leave, we will leave Russia to the people in power. I would not like such people to leave the Russia I love. There was a similar split among the progressive part of society in the last century after the revolution. Alexander Blok wrote in a poem addressed to Zinaida Gippius, who left Russia: “It’s scary, sweet, it’s inevitable.” These lines, written in 1918, coincide with my feeling about today. I love Europe, I studied and lived in Berlin, I really want to go to Israel, because most of my dear people live there. But it is important for someone to stay here. Going out on pickets reminds me of Russia’s past, of Stalin’s repressions. I am afraid of repeating the past. And this fear of repeating the past is stronger than the fear of participating in actions. I can’t organize public events – I don’t want to go to prison. I only write texts and go out on pickets. Everyone must do only what his caution allows.
– Is it fair that you, a vulnerable young person without large resources and almost without support in Russia, have to “throw into the multipenny shaft”?
– The logic of leadership and dictatorial power, centered around one person, is the result of wrong thoughts. For example, some activists say something like: “Now there is no m protest, that’s all, I’ll go. As soon as there will be something mive, or I will meet a normal leader, or there will be something normal in general, I will join.” Such logic leads to leadership. It is not necessary to wait for someone to come and give freedom. This will never happen. This is the only way to a dictatorship. I can only give myself freedom. The big is made up of the little.
– How do you feel about the idea of collective responsibility of all citizens of Russia to Ukrainians for the war?
The war is going on very long, and I want to wake up, but it is impossible to wake up
– I have Ukrainian roots, but I was formed in Moscow, and for Ukrainians I am a “Moscovian”. I would not like to be blamed. I have an irrational feeling of shame and guilt for my people. Probably, because I feel a greater connection with Russia, with its culture, history and Christianity. I sometimes feel guilty and understand that I can’t get anywhere and I can’t rewrite this page. I force myself to endure the sharp attacks of Ukrainians and humble myself, although I am terribly offended. They are not obliged to understand the details of the political agenda, because they are at war.
– What kind of pressure do the security forces put you under?
– After the action in Kolomensk in support of Azat Myftakhov and other political prisoners, the police broke into my apartment. They walked on it, asked strange questions, shone a flashlight, photographed my poster with the inscription “phobia belongs in the museum”, scared my cat. One of them showed his ID as a criminal investigation officer. They demanded that I go with them. I refused, called a human rights activist friend and turned on the speakerphone during the call. When they realized that I would not go anywhere with them, they warned that if I did not stop my activities, which, according to the security forces, fell under the articles of “discredit” and “extremism”, then measures would be applied to me. I answered that I am not doing anything illegal.
– How do you cope with loneliness after the emigration of your friends and ociates?
– I’m not sure I’m doing well. I need people, I’m not used to being alone. This is a new situation for me: I have always been surrounded by friends and like-minded people. Now it is very difficult for me both without personal communication and without participation in a large political movement. My friend Oksana found the “I stay” group for activists. There, people share their experiences of how they live alone after the emigration of friends. My faith and my maximalism and attachment to my beliefs support me. And also, I am a very patient person.
I do what I can now, and I fight against what I consider to be anti-human
– Does your faith still support you?
– I believe that Christianity should be without denominations. I rarely, but nevertheless, go to the Orthodox church, because the ritual part is close to me. She seems beautiful to me. The idea of Christianity is humility. Everything is in God’s hands, and he will resolve the situation as it should. I think there are no bad people, just people who are confused. But when I look at those in power, I have big doubts about this belief. In general, I doubt whether they are human. Sometimes I really want to crumble a loaf at God. After the events in Israel, for example. After all, wars are started by people, not by God. I have not doubted my faith, but despair creeps up on me periodically. Another question about faith and whether it helps: yesterday, one of the parishioners of the church I attend said that the second coming would be useful now and would solve everything. I thought that this was a thought.
– I understand that you said the last phrase with irony. What are you hoping for now?
– I do what I can now, and I fight against what I consider to be anti-human. When they tell me that everything will end, to me it sounds like words about the second coming or about meeting a unicorn on the streets of Moscow. I was born in 1995, and for most of my life Putin was in power. It’s hard for me to believe in change. The war is going on very long, and I want to wake up, but it is impossible to wake up. And I can’t say that I have any bright expectations. Subconsciously, I hope for something, but it is difficult for me.