Viktor Kamenshchikov, who served as a deputy in the Vladivostok Duma, resigned from the Communist Party on February 27, just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine. Vladivostok is a large port city in eastern Russia. Its duma is equivalent to a city council.
“I do not agree with the position of the party leadership,” Kamenshchikov told Russian newspaper Kommersant at the time, specifically alluding to “military operations in Ukraine and the use of Russian troops on the territory of a neighboring state.
“I am against war in principle,” he added.
Vladivostok city councillor Viktor Kamenshchikov resigned from the Communist Party on February 28 in protest against the invasion. Now he has apparently been arrested while trying to cross the Mexico-US border. He reportedly has a child with US citizenship due to birth. https://t.co/LX6payUgkX
— X Soviet 🇺🇦 (@XSovietNews) May 19, 2022
It was not known where along the U.S. border Kamenshchikov was being detained or if he was seeking asylum. Russian state news service RIA Novosti reported that a source said Kamenshchikov had been arrested, although “it is not yet known for what exactly, presumably for an illegal border crossing.”
Kamenshchikov’s opposition put him at risk of arrest in Russia, where spreading what is determined to be “fake” information about the military can mean up to 15 years in prison. Kamenshchikov said in an interview that people’s failure to oppose the war, “means that they are for it” and warned Russia will have to pay for “5,10, 20 years for all the horror that is happening today.
“Don’t call me a hero because I defiantly left the party,” he said.
In a March 5 interview with sibreal.org, he accused the government of tricking deputies into voting for a military invasion. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LPDR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky knew about Vladimir Putin’s war plans in advance, he said.
Anatoly Dolgachev, the first secretary of the Communist Party’s Primorsky regional branch, reportedly called fleeing to the United States, whose “imperialist policies” the party opposes, is the worst thing a party member can do.
Anti-war protests in Russia initially began in city squares, but demonstrators were rounded up and arrested. Since then, opposition has become more stealthy, with graffiti, sabotage of the railways of both Russia and Belarus and the firebombing of recruitment centers, according to Fox News. One shadowy group called “Stop the Wagons” posted on social media a map of railway targets for blocking military supplies bound Ukraine.
The number of illegal border crossers encountered by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol on the Mexican border reached an all-time high in April, according to government data. There were 234,088 encounters in total last month, an increase of 5.4% from March, CBP data shows.