A peace activist has staged an emotive protest against the Kremlin's policies on Ukraine by wandering blindfolded through St. Petersburg with her hands stained blood-red.
The activist, who goes by pseudonym Kado Cornet, was captured in a YouTube video walking barefoot down St. Petersburg's central Nevsky Prospect, clad in a red skirt, blue shirt and a white headscarf — the colors of the Russian flag.
Cornet also wore on her wrists the orange-and-black ribbons of St. George — a Russian symbol of military valor — and a blindfold over her eyes, while walking with her outstretched hands stained in red.
"This is my Motherland. Blinded, insane, screaming in agony," the activist said Saturday on her Facebook page. "It does not know where it is going, but it is sure that everyone should be afraid of its hands, which are stained in blood — others' and its own."
Passersby stopped in their tracks to watch the young woman as she staggered forward, emitting screams, witnesses said.
"This action made a most powerful impression on me," Vadim Lurye from St. Petersburg said on his Facebook page. "Kado walked and screamed, and her scream could not be ignored. People received this action much more readily than any [protest] sign."
The action titled "Russia's Scream" ended after Cornet collapsed near the renowned Yeliseyevsky food store, lying motionlessly on the pavement, according to social media accounts.
While some passersby expressed concerns that the young woman may have fallen ill, nobody appeared willing to approach her except a homeless man, the protester and witnesses reported.
"When [Russia] falls, it will turn out that nobody except a homeless drunk is able to come to its aid," Cornet said via Facebook.
A police officer summoned to the scene called an ambulance, Lurye said, though the protester appeared to be in good health, saying later on her Facebook page that she planned to travel around the country and eastern Europe in the coming days.
The artistic action was received positively by a number of Facebook users.
One woman praised the "fragile young woman, who is stronger than a million healthy men who are quietly watching from the side or yapping support for the authorities."
"Brave girl, well done," wrote another Facebook user.
The West has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of supplying arms to pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, leading to a conflict with government forces that has left thousands dead and many more displaced. The Kremlin has denied the charges.
But Cornet in her Facebook message was keen to underline that her protest was not just directed at those in power: "No one who has tried to turn a deaf ear to this scream will be able to wash off the blood," she wrote.