A protester carrying Russian and Ukrainian flags at a protest on 15 March against Russia's recent move on Crimea. The protest was staged a day before the referendum was held regarding the status of Crimea. Photograph: Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP/Getty Images

A group of prominent intellectuals and cultural figures staged an anti-war march in Moscow yesterday, describing themselves as representatives of the intelligentsia and expressing their position “against war, against the isolation of Russia, and against the restoration of totalitarianism". The event, held in the building of the Library of Foreign Literature, was attended by around 150 well-known writers, human rights activists, academics and journalists, many of whom had signed a public statement on 13 March against the annexation of Crimea to Russia.

Among those in attendance were writer Ludmila Ulitskaya, economist Evgeny Gontmakher and Alexei Simonov, president of Glasnost Defence Foundation, a free speech NGO. The group had previously published a statement in liberal opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta, strongly condemning the Russian military's actions in Crimea. In their statement the group wrote: “Under the guise of ‘protecting Russians in Crimea, in addition to all Ukrainians now threatened by the new illegitimate fascist government in Ukraine’ Crimea has been de facto annexed.”

The group’s statement also drew attention to the current media landscape in Russia, which they said was being used to contort information. “Russia is rapidly slipping into a new Cold War with the west, the grave consequences of which cannot be predicted,” the statement reads. “All state media is pouring out an uncontrolled deluge of lies and misinformation … All dissent is indiscriminately decried as ‘fifth columns’ and ‘fascists’.”

This protest follows last week's March for Peace in Moscow, which saw tens of thousands of people, possibly as many as 50,000, attend the rally.

Source: Radio Svoboda

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