Ukraine Arresting Citizens Over Misinformation on Russia

Zelenskyy signed anti-collaboration laws that include public statements of support for Russia.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Ukraine has begun making arrests of those who voice sentiments that are positive toward Russia and its conflict with the neighboring nation, according to The Associated Press
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed off on legislation rushed through the country’s legislature.
  • The law created a program similar to the one proposed as the United States “Ministry of Truth” that allows for the country to aggressively censor free speech. 
  • Citizens who are believed to have “materially” aided Russia are subject to prosecution or who show public support for Russia’s invasion and are branded as “traitors.”
  • Some reports indicate that there have been almost 400 arrests in the region of Kharkiv alone of individuals that were detained under anti-collaboration laws.
MORE ON THE ARRESTS IN UKRAINE:
  • One detainee known only as “Victor” was arrested at his apartment in Ukraine by security officers who came to his door in full riot gear and questioned him about his social media activity.
  • “Yes, I supported (the Russian invasion of Ukraine) a lot. I’m sorry. … I have already changed my mind,” said Viktor, reportedly with a trembling voice showing clear signs of duress in the presence of the Ukrainian security officers, according to AP.
  • “Get your things and get dressed,” an officer said before escorting him out of the apartment.
  • The SBU did not reveal Viktor’s last name, citing their investigation.
BACKGROUND:
  • Ukraine and Russia have been in conflict since late February, when Russia breached Ukraine’s border while pointing to Neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine as justification for their invasion.
  • It is believed that Russia has similar anti-free speech laws that allow them to detain anyone who speaks out against the government’s decisions involving the war.
  • Russia’s laws reportedly extend to journalists as well, with public figures being removed from the public eye when they have deviated from support for the Kremlin.