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Russian opposition in exile leans towards supporting armed resistance against Putin

Russian volunteers from the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), and the Siberian Battalion at the press conference on March 21
Russian volunteers from the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), and the Siberian Battalion at the press conference on March 21

More and more Russian dissidents in exile are beginning to advocate for armed struggle against Putin's rule, though not enough have embraced this tactic as of yet, three Russian resistance group members said during a press conference in Kyiv on March 21.

"There's definite support from the emigrant centers,” said Alexey Baranovsky, a volunteer fighter from the Freedom of Russia Legion (FRL).  “Only in the third year of the war did they start to consolidate and provide assistance. Though largely delayed, it's there.”

It would be helpful if recruitment for anti-Putin resistance groups could be expanded across Europe, according to Baranovsky.  “For now, only the Civic Council [Russian anti-government NGO based in Poland] is actively working with the Siberian Battalion,” he said.  “Where's the rest of the opposition in this regard? The direction is right, but we hope for more significant results.”

"We're pleased with the trend we're seeing,” said Cold, a member of the Siberian Battalion – another Russian resistance group.

“More and more people realize that, unfortunately, armed struggle is the only way to change power in Russia. Putin's 'special military operation' has made this clear to everyone. In the current climate in Russia, advocating for fundamental human rights like personal choice, freedom of conscience, religious practice, and inherent personal freedoms demands a more assertive approach. This necessity arises as peaceful methods have unfortunately not achieved the desired outcomes.”

Freedom of Russia Legion fighter Aleksey Baranovsky and “Cold”, a member of the Siberian Battalion <span class="copyright">NV</span>
Freedom of Russia Legion fighter Aleksey Baranovsky and “Cold”, a member of the Siberian Battalion NV

Cold explained explained that peaceful protest doesn’t work in Russia, and as a result, his group contains people from a variety of walks of life, including professional soldiers, businesspeople, mechanics, and so on.

“At some point, they all understood that simply lighting flashlights doesn't work," concluded Cold, referencing the numerous peaceful demonstration brutally suppressed by Putin’s regime.

Read also: Why are Russians not protesting against the war in Ukraine?

"The stance of prominent figures in the Russian opposition, thankfully, began to change in the war's third year,” said Denis Nikitin, commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC).

“They've realized that roundtables, forums, petitions, paper cups, and flashlights can't budge a despotic regime like Putin's.  The opposition's efforts should be directed at supporting the fighting Russian units. I'm talking about the RVC, Siberian Battalion and FRL because we are at the forefront of the attack, the spearhead that must pierce the heart of the Putin regime, and perhaps Putin's heart in reality.”

Nikitin claimed that Russian freedom fighters had gained the support of prominent Russian dissidents, including world renown chess master Garry Kasparov. “There are people who understand that we are carrying out the only possible, effective work, waging a war against the regime,” Nikitin said. “If they're not ready for the same form of struggle, they should either assist us in our fight or not call themselves the Russian opposition."

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In mid-March, Kyiv hosted the first forum in support of Russian volunteers, attended by notable figures like Mark Feygin, Ivan Tyutrin, Yevgenia Chirikova, Ilya Ponomarev, Garry Kasparov (online), and other Russian opposition politicians, activists, and journalists united in their support for the armed struggle against Putin's regime.

Fighters from the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Siberian Battalion kicked off a joint operation on March 12, conducting raids into Russia’s Belgorod and Kursk oblasts. The Freedom of Russia Legion declared that their aim is to liberate Russia from dictator Vladimir Putin.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine