‘No war please’: Prominent Russian business leaders, artists and athletes voice opposition to the invasion of Ukraine

'No war please': Prominent Russian business leaders, artists and athletes voice opposition to the invasion of Ukraine

A growing chorus of prominent Russians, from oligarchs to athletes and entertainers, is speaking out against their country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Oxxxymiron, a popular rapper from St. Petersburg, was among the most vocal. He delivered an Instagram message that called for mass protests. “I know that most people in Russia are against this war, and I am confident that the more people would talk about their real attitude to it, the faster we can stop this horror,” he said, as translated from the Russian.

The rapper, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, also cancelled concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg because of the war, according to the New York Times. “I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine,” he said.

Regina Spektor, the pop star who was born in Moscow but has called the U.S. home since 1989, said in an Instagram message that her “heart hurts” over the Russian invasion.

In Ukraine there are just “millions of civilians being pulled into a war, and in Russia there are children being sent to fight and die for no reason,” Spektor wrote.

Andrey Rublev, a Russian tennis star who is currently ranked among the top men’s singles players, delivered an anti-war message in an unusual way. He wrote “No war please” on a TV camera as he was playing in a Dubai tournament.

Alex Ovechkin, a Russian native who is now a well-known hockey player for the NHL’s Washington Capitals, delivered a similar message in a statement to the press.

“Please, no more war,” he said at a news conference last week. The comment was perhaps all the more noteworthy given that Ovechkin has voiced support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past.

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“It doesn’t matter who’s in the war,” added Ovechkin. “Russia. Ukraine. Different countries…we have to live in peace and a great world.”

Some Russian business leaders — the so-called oligarchs — have also been vocal about their anti-war stance.

Mikhail Fridman, who heads LetterOne, a private equity firm based in London, wrote a letter to his staff in which he called the current conflict “a tragedy” for both the Russian and Ukrainian people.

“I do not make political statements, I am a businessman with responsibilities to my many thousands of employees in Russia and Ukraine,” Fridman wrote. “I am convinced however that war can never be the answer. This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.”

Fridman’s statement was followed by one from Oleg Deripaska, the Russian businessman described by the Financial Times as a “fervently pro-Putin metals magnate.”

Despite his past support for the Russian president, Deripaska indicated he would like to see the conflict end quickly.

“Peace is very important! Negotiations must begin as soon as possible!” Deripaska wrote.

Also voicing concern about the war: Russian-born media executive Evgeny Lebedev. He made a front-page proclamation in London’s Evening Standard, a publication he owns, in which he asked Putin to end the war.

“As a Russian I plead with you to stop Russians from killing their Ukrainian brothers and sisters. As a British citizen, I ask you to save Europe from War,” Lebedev wrote.

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