At 12:41 a.m. Moscow time on August 28, Solidarity Movement activist Dmitry Monakhov tweeted: "I am Russian. Not cattle. Not a killer. And I am not an occupier. I am ashamed that Putin is my president. At 9:00 I will go to Manezh against the war."
Less than 24 hours later, his message had been retweeted some 3,000 times.
Я россиянин. Не быдло. Не убийца. И не оккупант. Мне стыдно что Путин мой президент. В 9.00 я иду на манежку против войны.— Dmitry Monakhov (@dmtrmon) August 27, 2014
He went to Moscow's Manezh Square on August 28, and said that Putin's actions were illegal under Section 353 of the Russian Criminal Code, which bans the planning of "aggressive war," according to the LiveJournal of Philipp Kireev, who witnessed the scene and uploaded photos of it to his blog. Monakhov called for the opening of a criminal investigation into Putin.
The police came and detained him. An onlooker shouted, "Don't like this -- go away, this is our home and we're going to live here," according to Kireev.
"I have been detained, I don't know what the charges will be," Monakhov tweeted at 9:35 a.m. Moscow time. As of the time of publication, he had not tweeted since.
Задержали. Что предъявят пока сами не знают— Dmitry Monakhov (@dmtrmon) August 28, 2014
The protest was one of a few scattered on Manezh Square of lone people protesting Putin's actions. The Interfax news agency quoted human rights activists as saying that six people were detained on the square.
Some of these sporadic protests were photographed and subsequently shared on social media:
'No War With Ukraine'
На Манежной площади в Москве проходят пикеты против войны России с Украиной pic.twitter.com/qGQca7Gw8X
— Грани.ру (@GraniTweet) August 28, 2014
'I Am A Citizen Of Russia Against The War With Ukraine"
На Манежной пикетчик появился pic.twitter.com/UbxNDWvnZ6— Philipp Kireev (@mynameisphilipp) August 28, 2014
Еще пикет pic.twitter.com/26qx9qSYNi
— Philipp Kireev (@mynameisphilipp) August 28, 2014
'War With Ukraine Is Suicide For Russia'
Other top opposition leaders took to Twitter to protest Moscow's actions.
The Twitter account of anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, who is under house arrest and barred from using social media, tweeted out a blog post with a March poll from his organization showing a majority of Russians looking on a war with Ukraine negatively.
Хотят ли русские войны https://t.co/ItZkZxJFSp ; pic.twitter.com/t2tlZUUAOU— Alexey Navalny (@navalny) August 28, 2014
Popular Russian opposition blogger Oleg Kozyrev tweeted a series of sarcastic observations. "The Kremlin destroying the Russian economy began with the economy of Ukraine," he said.
"Yes, in Russia we don't know how to build roads. Instead, we learned to bomb the roads of other governments." He went on, "Why build a hospital in Russia, to be better than neighboring states, if you can just destroy the hospital of your neighbors."
Зачем строить больницы в России, чтобы быть лучше соседних государств, если можно просто разрушить больницы у соседей?— Олег Козырев (@oleg_kozyrev) August 28, 2014
Да, пусть мы в России не умеем строить дороги. Зато бомбить дороги других государств научились— Олег Козырев (@oleg_kozyrev) August 28, 2014
Разрушив российскую экономику Кремль принялся за экономику Украины— Олег Козырев (@oleg_kozyrev) August 28, 2014
State media downplayed the new Russian front in Ukraine.
State-controlled NTV played NATO's statement that more than 1,000 Russian troops were on Ukrainian soil as an accusation without proof, and included a denial from Russia's representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Channel One called it an "alleged 'Russian invasion'" and said that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's August 28 statement that Moscow had brought forces into Ukraine caused "a new spike in anti-Russian rhetoric in the Western media."
-- Luke Johnson