“White Blue White,” the New Flag of Russia’s Anti-Struggle Motion
From Toronto to Prague, Russians dwelling overseas have adopted a brand new flag to protest the battle in Ukraine. The white and blue banner eliminates the pink stripe of the official flag of the Russian Federation, interpreted by some anti-war activists as symbolizing blood.
On-line teams have emerged to advertise the brand new flag. An Instagram web page devoted to it has almost 8,000 followers, and the motion has its personal web site, whitebluewhite.information.
“The white-blue-red flag, which is at the moment utilized by the federal government of the Russian Federation, turned a logo of blood, battle, and aggression all through the world,” an announcement on the web site reads. “We, Russian residents who don’t assist the authoritarian regime and its army, can’t use it.”
The flag emerged in late February, every week after Russia’s preliminary invasion of Ukraine. On February 27, it appeared in a viral tweet by consumer @AssezJeune, describing it as “de-Sovietized, with out blood, the cult of battle, and imperialism.” In a Fb submit on February 28, Kai Katonina, a UX designer who lives in Berlin, listed the explanations for the flag’s adoption, citing the erasure of the “blood pink stripe.”
Katonina additionally invoked the banner’s similarity to a flag adopted in Belarus in 2020 to protest the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, and its likeness to the flag of medieval Novgorod Republic, which Katonina described as a “democratic city-state.”
The Novgorod Republic, which flourished between the ninth and fifteenth centuries, was certainly extra democratic than many medieval societies (though nearer to an oligarchy by in the present day’s requirements), and its proto-democratic legacy is invoked in a lot of the web dialogue surrounding the brand new peace flag.
However criticism of the flag has additionally emerged on social media. One Instagram consumer stated its resemblance to the Novgorod banner is a detriment to its anti-war messaging, as a result of the dukes of Novgorod invaded Kyiv within the late ninth century. Others have pointed to the flag’s symbolic worth as inadequate within the face of bloodshed.
The Russian Federation’s present pink, white, and blue flag was adopted within the nineteenth century and readopted after the autumn of the Soviet Union (when the pink hammer and sickle flag was used).
On March 4, the Kremlin outlawed anti-war protests, saying a 15-year jail sentence for anti-war demonstrators. A Moscow court docket additionally restricted entry to Fb and Instagram, labeling them “extremist.”
Whereas Russians overseas can promote the brand new peace flag on-line and fly it in public, greater than 15,000 Russians on the house entrance have been arrested for protesting the battle in Ukraine. Nonetheless, many have discovered alternate methods to protest, comparable to putting crosses for the lifeless in Ukraine, placing up posters, spray-painting graffiti, and writing anti-war messaging on paper payments.
As of yesterday, April 7, the United Nations reported 3,838 civilian casualties in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24. At present, a rocket strike on a Ukrainian practice station killed at the very least 50 individuals, and final week, Russian forces’ atrocities towards civilians in Bucha summoned accusations of battle crimes.