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Russian Activists Face Death Threats Over Women’s ‘Solidarity Chain’ Protest

Around 300 participants formed human chains in central Moscow and St. Petersburg on Sunday. Peter Kovalyov / TASS

Russian women activists have received hundreds of death threats after their Valentine’s Day “chain of solidarity” for female victims of political repression, the Mediazona news website reported Tuesday.

Around 300 participants formed human chains in central Moscow and St. Petersburg on Sunday following weeks of harsh police crackdowns at pro-Navalny protests.

The event’s organizer, activist Daria Serenko, told Mediazona she has received an estimated 600 threats since creating a Facebook event page announcing the “Chain of Solidarity and Love.”

“We’ll come after you, force you to sit on a bottle and rape you,” Serenko quoted one of the messages she received on social media, saying she has since deleted them.

“We know where your husband lives, we’ll kill your pets,” she quoted another message as saying.

The feminist activist linked the hate messages to an infamous anti-women blogger who fled Russia after a court overturned his suspended sentence for inciting hatred toward women in 2019.

The blogger and his allies had called on supporters to film themselves disrupting and verbally abusing the women’s chain of solidarity.

Hecklers spotted at Moscow’s event Sunday included two men wearing mock NATO helmets — a nod to Kremlin accusations of Navalny being a western puppet — and nationalist activists.

Later on Sunday, Navalny supporters across the country held up cellphone flashlights in residential courtyards to send a muted signal of solidarity and avoid direct confrontations with riot police. The Kremlin said no detentions were made at the flashlight protests because of low turnout and no violations of the law.

A database of nearly 30,000 Navalny supporters’ personal data had begun circulating online days ahead of the protests.

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