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Anti-War Russian Pensioner Resumes Pickets After Stroke

Yelena Osipova, a St. Petersburg-based artist and famous voice of protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has resumed her anti-war pickets shortly after suffering a stroke.

Osipova, 77, was a fixture at anti-war rallies in Russia’s second city of St. Petersburg following the outbreak of the war, with footage of her frequent detentions by police going viral. 

On Monday, when the country marked the national holiday Russia Day, Osipova was photographed on St. Petersburg’s main artery Nevsky Prospekt.

“Russia needs rehabilitation after a serious illness,” read a caption on a banner attached to a fence next to Osipova.

MR7, a St. Petersburg news channel on the Telegram messaging app, said Osipova was not detained at the brief picket.

This was the first time Osipova stepped outside her home since being discharged two weeks ago from the hospital, where she was admitted in early May due to a stroke, according to veteran St. Petersburg opposition politician Boris Vishnevsky.

“We’re very worried about her,” wrote Vishnevsky, a longtime Kremlin critic and member of the liberal Yabloko party.

He added that police seized Osipova’s paintings exhibited at Yabloko’s office in January and have not returned them despite promising to do so in early May.

While single-person pickets are one of the few remaining forms of legal protest in Russia, carrying anti-war slogans runs the risk of prosecution under Russia's wartime censorship laws.

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