When celebrities turn their backs on Putin

MAxim Galkin is one of the Kremlin’s new problem children. The comedian and TV presenter is well known in Russia, reaches millions of viewers via Instagram alone and, as the fifth husband of pop singer Alla Pugacheva (“One Million Roses”), is also a darling of celebrity coverage. After Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his “military special operation” against Ukraine on February 24, Galkin wrote on Instagram that he has been in touch with relatives and friends in the neighboring country since early morning. “Words can’t describe how I feel! How is all this possible! There can be no justification for war! No to war!”

In Russia, you can now go to prison for such words. Galkin traveled to Israel with his family in March, but spoke out again with an Instagram message on Orthodox Easter at the end of April. Shortly before, eight people died in a Russian rocket attack on the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa, including three generations of a family, a three-month-old girl, her mother and grandmother. “Everything is not us. But what are we doing there?” he asked. On the one hand, Russia’s officials prayed with Patriarch Kirill, on the other hand, cruise missiles flew into an apartment building, Galkin said. Russia is denying responsibility for this attack along the same lines as it denied responsibility for the Bucha mass killings or the July 2014 downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine, the comedian went on to explain. This post alone has been viewed more than six and a half million times on Instagram. This is also remarkable because in Russia this platform can only be accessed indirectly via a VPN connection.

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