The surprising reason why Russian women are wearing red on social media

Emily CopeFri, 5 February 2021, 9:53 am


Women across Russia have taken to Instagram wearing red to show support for the wife of Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader who was jailed this week.

The move of solidarity comes after Yulia Navalnaya, 44, wore a red top when her husband was sentenced to two years and eight months in a penal colony.

The peaceful social media protest was started by Katya Fedorova, a fashion writer, who posted a photo of herself in a red jumper, along with the caption: “Today I am in red as a sign of support for Yulia Navalnaya, as well as all those detained and convicted for not being afraid to express their views, their wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, relatives and friends.

“We are with you and ready to help.”

Users have since shared images of themselves in red clothes with the hashtag, “Don’t be sad, everything will be fine” – the last words Navalny said to his wife before being detained, according to The Moscow Times.

Large crowds have rallied across Russia in support of Navalny, who was arrested last month for returning to Russia and violating the conditions of a suspended sentence for embezzlement.

Last August, Navalny was treated in Berlin in Germany for a near-fatal nerve agent attack on him. He went on to accuse President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning, but the Kremlin denies involvement.

The protests are some of biggest demonstrations against the Russian government in recent years, with thousands of pro-Navalny protesters detained in crowded holding centres as the authorities struggle to cope with the mass of rallies.

In a message passed over from prison and published on his Instagram account by his lawyers, Navalny said to his supporters: “Do not allow yourself to be intimidated. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by an illusion of strength and swagger.

“They can only hold on to power, using it for their own enrichment, by relying on our fear. Instead, by fighting our fear, we can liberate our Motherland from the little band of thieves and occupiers. And we will do this.

“It is our duty to do it. For ourselves and for future generations. The truth is on our side. Stay free.”