Will Stewart — Daily Mail April 28, 2014
An extraordinary display of ‘agents of foreign influence’ has been erected in Crimea, denouncing Russian opposition figures such as the Pussy Riot singers, implying they are tools of the West.
It is unknown who is behind the controversial ‘wall of shame’ which appeared at Simferopol Airport and railway station, but it evokes memories of the vilification of supposed traitors from Stalin times.
An image of Uncle Sam with a no entry sign suggests that the pictured opposition figures are accused as aiding the U.S. and the West.
Among those denounced on the display on the Black Sea peninsula, recently annexed by Russia, are opposition blogger and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, seen as a prominent foe of Vladimir Putin.
The message under his jail-style picture reads: ‘Lawyer. Got five years suspended sentence for Kirov timber stealing.
‘He carries out all his “investigations” in the interests of certain financial groups. He took part in nationalist marches, but then betrayed fellow nationalists for the sake of creating a liberal party.’
In bold letters, it adds: ‘He called for sanctions against Russia after the Crimean referendum.’
The Pussy Riot singers Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, both jailed for an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral, are pictured among a dozen ‘agents of foreign influence’.
Another is Mikhail Kasyanov, once Putin’s prime minister but now an opposition politician, along with ex-deputy premier Boris Nemtsov who is also a critic of the Kremlin.
On Andrey Makarevich, founder of Russia’s oldest rock band, Time Machine, the citation condemns him for supporting protesters arrested at an anti-Putin rally.
‘Musician who lost his popularity and hosted TV cooking show. He played at concerts to support “Bolotnaya prisoners”. He supported Yeltsin, then Putin, and then turned to opposition.’
In bold letters it continues: ‘He believes that Russia’s participation in the Ukrainian question is a profanation and rude interference with the people’s fight for independence.’
Top Russian blogger Rustem Adagamov – who highlighted the pictures – wrote: ‘I finally realised that Crimea is Russian territory. See what displays were put at Simferopol’s airport and railway station.’
The anonymous photographer who took the pictures wrote: ‘This is all I managed to snap with my phone. Then people in military uniforms came to say that it was prohibited to take pictures there and that I should show my identity documents.’
The display resembles a recent poster that appeared briefly on the building housing a major bookshop in Moscow which complained of a ‘fifth column’ in Russia.
The display was across the street from the offices of Ekho Moscow, an independently edited radio station, along with a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Baskin-Robbins and a Citibank branch.
A giant banner showed images of opposition figures along side aliens, one holding a briefcase with a white ribbon symbol of anti-Putin campaigners.
The sign read: ‘Fifth Column. Aliens among us.’ A statement said: ‘Books were written about aliens capturing earth under disguise. They look like us, and until the moment comes no-one suspects them.
‘We haven’t met true aliens yet. But sadly the ‘fifth column’ of national traitors became an indisputable reality in Russia.
‘They are in fact just the same aliens. They pretend to act in the interests of Russia and our people, but in fact they serve interests of completely different “civilisations”.’
The poster was taken as a sign of a ‘xenophobic chill’ in Moscow amid the crisis over Ukraine, seen as the most serious rupture in east-west relations since the Cold War.
While these stunts are minor compared to the official denunciations of the Stalin era, they recall a Soviet trend.
The Stalinist poster above from the early 1930s is entitled ‘Eliminate the Viper!’ .
It reads: ‘Wipe out enemy of people Trotsky and his bloody fascist gang!’
Courtesy Peter Myers