Russian People Claiming They Were Bussed In And Forced To To Attend Putin Rally
| Last updated
Several Russians attending a rally held in Moscow have said they were pressured into going by their employers and schools. Take a look at a video below showing attendees turning their backs when approached by a Russian camera crew:
The rally, which was held at the capital's Luzhniki stadium to celebrate the eight year anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, saw President Vladimir Putin give a speech in which he promoted Russian patriotism and claimed that his military was defending Russians against a 'genocide.'
The stadium was filled with attendees waving Russian flags, as well as a section waving white banners with the letter 'Z' - a symbol that has come to represent support for the Russian war in Ukraine.
Russian officials have claimed that more than 200,000 people were packed inside the stadium, which has an official capacity over just over 80,000.
But it seems not everyone at the rally was enthusiastic to be there.
Speaking to several people outside the stadium, the BBC reports that a number of attendees claimed that they had either been forced to attend or offered time out from their work or studies to take part in the event.
Several people claimed that they were public sector workers who had been pressured into going from their employers, with one person telling a journalist that he was actually opposed to his country's actions in Ukraine.
'I'll be here for a while and then I'll leave… I think most people here don't support the war. I don't,' he said.
Several students said that they had been offered the day off school to go to what they were told was 'a concert,' with many of them saying they were not aware that the event was in part being used to show support for the war in Ukraine.
These reports have been echoed by other international journalists on the scene, one of whom shared a video which showed young people outside the stadium turning their backs when approached by a Russian camera team, and reported hearing anecdotal evidence of crowds being 'bused in' to the venue.
Other videos appeared to show a stream of people leaving the stadium only shortly after the rally had begun, with some claiming they had checked in to the event, before turning around and promptly leaving again.
At the event Putin praised Russian efforts in Ukraine and doubled down on his commitment to what he describes as a 'special military operation,' telling the crowd: "We know what we have to do next... we'll definitely carry out all the plans we have made."
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sota
Topics: Russia, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, World News