As a result of resisting the Russian invasion ran out of work

As a result of resisting the Russian invasion ran out of work

As a result of resisting the Russian invasion ran out of work

Some were fired, others resigned as a complaint. Family ties are strained, often with a generational rift.

For geography guru Kamran Manafly, 28, it all starts with an Instagram post.

"I don't want to be an image of state propaganda," he wrote on social networks, just days before it was restricted in Russia. "I have my own comments! Many teachers are. And understand you? It's not the same as state comments."

He felt compelled to write his opinion after a staff meeting at his high school in central Moscow, where he and his colleagues were ordered to have a dialogue with their students about the situation in Ukraine so as not to deviate from the government's position.

2 hours after posting, he received a call from the principal telling him to immediately delete the post or quit his job.

"I didn't want to delete it," Manafly told the BBC. "I knew right away that there was no point in arguing, so I thought it was best to resign."

When he arrived at school the next day, hoping to pick up his things and sign his resignation letter, he was forbidden to enter the premises.

"They said there were orders not to let me in. The kids started taking to the streets to support me, say goodbye, and so on. After that someone called the police and said I was holding a demonstration without permission," he reported.

Video seen by the BBC shows children huddled near Manafly, clapping, smiling and saying goodbye.

He finally took his belongings and the next day managed to meet the principal, who asked for a formal explanation as to why the teacher had expressed his political thoughts on social media. Manafly refused, hoping to resign, but was told that the situation had changed and he would be fired.

"Two days after that, I was informed that I had been fired for immoral behavior at work," Manafly said. "For me, the most strange thing is that they think the expression of individual comments is immoral."

The school principal did not respond to requests for opinion, but in a WhatsApp message accessible to the BBC, the school's parents were notified that Manafly's social media posts violated his employment agreement with his employer, which he denies.

Fake data suppression

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, thousands of Russians, particularly in Moscow and St. Petersburg, reported their opposition to the so-called "special military surgery" by signing petitions, posting on social media or participating in anti-war street complaints.

The country's assumptions are harsh, detaining thousands of protesters and introducing a new law that makes the dissemination of "false" data about the Russian military punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

However, Manafly's Instagram post did not violate that law, for the Russian news message Novaya Gazeta, which published it in full especially after the new law came into effect.

Despite the risks that continue to be great, for Katya Dolinina, the invasion of Ukraine is a time where she can no longer stand still. The manager of 2 cinemas for the state-run Moskino network, Dolinina usually keeps her political opinions to herself.

"I love my job, I love it. I don't want to lose it," he told the BBC, explaining why he had not participated in the earlier anti-government complaint.

But when the war started, it changed. When friends sent him an open message against so-called "special surgery," signed by people who worked in the cultural zone, he didn't hesitate to raise his name.

"I agree with the idea that this surgery must be stopped immediately, otherwise this is not true," he said.

Not long after signing the message, Dolinina received a call from her boss. He must immediately delete his name, or resign. If he refuses to do both, he will be fired, he was told. The Moskino Network did not respond to requests for opinion from the BBC.

“I feel like it doesn't matter anymore. I don't know how I'm going to work if they don't ask me to resign. After this special surgery was started, I didn't feel any motivation to do anything that wasn't related to it," he said.

He finished without much fanfare, he reported, because he was afraid his employer would create an alibi to fire him, which would cause more problems, he said, in the future.

The entire termination process took only a few hours, and the atmosphere at the last meeting with her managers was friendly—they told Dolinina that they were sad to see her leave, although she is currently confused as to whether this was just to avoid conflict.

But for Anna Levadnaya, a pediatrician and influencer with more than 2 million Instagram followers, the meeting where she knew she had to end was anything but friendly.

He was on vacation abroad when the invasion of Ukraine began. That day, he posted a picture on Instagram from a plane window, with a photo of a peace dove.

"I don't discriminate against aggression," he wrote. "I worry for all of us." He described his family's Ukrainian roots and called for "this hell" to end as soon as possible.

With so many followers on Instagram, the article could not have escaped the attention of her employer, a major state medical center in Moscow.

A few days later, Levadnaya, still out of the country, heard from colleagues that the director of the medical center had criticized his anti-war statements during the morning conference in front of more than 100 of his colleagues. He received a video recording of the activity.

"It's a public shame," Levadnaya told the BBC. "They made it clear that a person who doesn't support the government's goals can't work in a public institution."

The director shared a speech, which lasted several minutes, suggesting that if Levadnaya found better data on world events, he would support "special surgery". Soon after, he was ordered to write a resignation note and if he refused, he would be fired.

His letter consisted of one sentence, simply explaining that it was "impossible to continue his work".

In his social media articles, Levadnaya describes current medical problems in an interesting and insightful way for his audience. He has learned to live with internet trolls (users who make rude comments just to provoke) and angry comments, he says, but the invasion of Ukraine has taken the situation to a different level.

"Moreover, a vaccine against covid, which creates a lot of aggression, does not create hatred among people like this kind of war. There is a huge division in society today, because everyone only believes in their own truth," said the health expert.

Many of those opposed to Russia have had their lives turned upside down by the war in Ukraine.

Some have run out of work, others have resigned complaining. Family ties are strained, often with a generational rift.

For Kamran Manafly and many others, one option was to leave the country. But not everyone can, or wants, to take that step.

"Not every Russian who doesn't agree with the Kremlin's propaganda can leave the country," Katya Dolinina said. "We're still here. We still have hope. We're trying not to give up."

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