Video Interview with the Russia born activist Anton Kalinin from Kirkenes, Norway. His car has become known in the whole town on the border with Russia after he decided to paint it in Ukrainian flag with slogans “Stop Putin” and “Stop War”.
As Anton told The Barents Observer, he was never interested in the politics, but the Russia´s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th 2022 changed him:
“I was sitting and couldn’t do anything for half an hour, - Anton recalls his first minutes after the news about the invasion. - It was really difficult to understand or recognise that its really happening.” he said. As a Russian, Anton feels guilty for what country of his birth is doing to Ukraine, he wants Russians to join his protests especially also because protests are are not banned in Norway.
Meanwhile he understands, that life of anti-war activists inside Russia is really difficult now: “Those who are against Putin and war inside Russia - they have really hard time now. If you are with a “No War” sign in Russia, u can get penalty, you can go prison… Its unbelievable situation in Russia now”.
Anton regularly organises protests in support of Ukraine next to the Russian consulate. We filmed him at one of the protests this year, when dozens of Kirkenes residents joined.
Anton talks about what it feels to be a Russian now, about Vladimir Putin and the influence of Russian propaganda.
The Norwegian Head of State pays visit to Sør-Varanger Garrison, the military base located only few kilometres from the warring country.