Of course, as a true masochist, I went to Palace Square to look at those hearts, small and large, supposedly symbolizing the sister cities of Petersburg and Mariupol. It is clear whose heart is the small one, and whose the big one, in the imperial capital. My thoughts about this are unprintable, so I’ll omit them.
But I went for curiosity’s sake: how many people would be getting their pictures taken in front of the hearts? As I’d supposed, it was a lot of people.
I saw much more than I’d expected. It was a total trash fest. There were the hearts, people taking fotochki, as they say now, frozen Peter the Greats walking around, carriages circling the square, and a drunk-looking little dude playing the accordion right there.
But no one seemed to be paying attention to the unauthorized inscription on the heart — black and large and truthful. (See the last two photos.)
While I was standing there, however, both citizens and law enforcement agencies finally noticed it. And they will call it vandalism, of course.
Source: Marina Varchenko, Facebook, 18 December 2022. Translated by TRR
A Petersburg woman detained on Palace Square has been charged with “discrediting” the army, the press service of the Interior Ministry’s Petersburg office has informed Bumaga.
Earlier, city media reported that the inscription “Murderers, you bombed it to smithereens. Traitors” had appeared on an installation dedicated to the sister-city relationship between Mariupol and Petersburg, and that a juvenile female had been detained.
When Bumaga asked it whether these reports were true, the press service of the Interior Ministry’s Petersburg office replied that on the afternoon of December 18, the police had detained seventeen-year-old girl on Palace Square “for committing illegal actions.” She was charged with an administrative offense for public actions aimed at “discrediting” the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (per Article 20.3.3 of the Russian Federal Administrative Offenses Code).
The installation appeared on Palace Square on December 12. Rotunda reported that the Petersburg authorities ordered it back in September. According to the contract, the city spent 1.05 million rubles on the installation.
On December 18, an inscription appeared on the installation, after which the structure was partially disassembled. Workers told our correspondent that the installation would remain on the square, but would spend the next few days without cladding until the inscription was removed from it.
Source: Bumaga, 19 December 2022. Translated by TRR
Dec 19 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the Federal Security Services to step up surveillance of Russian society and the country’s borders to prevent risks from abroad and traitors at home.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Security Services Day — widely celebrated in Russia [sic] — Putin said the “emergence of new threats” increases the need for greater intelligence activity.
“Work must be intensified through the border services and the Federal Security Service (FSB),” Putin said.
“Any attempts to violate it (the border) must be thwarted quickly and effectively using whatever forces and means we have at our disposal, including mobile action units and special forces.”
Putin instructed the FSB to maximise their “use of the operational, technical and personnel potential” to tighten control of the society.
The FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, has already been operating in Russia as an expansive surveillance and censorship apparatus and Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine has involved a large swathe of the security services.
“Maximum composure, concentration of forces is now required from counterintelligence agencies, including military intelligence,” Putin said, according to transcript of his speech provided by the Kremlin and translated by Reuters.
“It is necessary to severely suppress the actions of foreign special services, quickly identify traitors, spies and saboteurs.”
The FSB, headed by Putin ally Alexander Bortnikov, will also increase oversight of mass gatherings, strategic facilities and energy infrastructure.
Since the start of the war, demonstrations and dissent have been swiftly quelled in Russia, with more than 1,300 detained in September at protests denouncing Putin’s military mobilisation of 300,000.
Source: Lidia Kelly and Ronald Popeski, “Putin orders FSB to step up surveillance of Russians and borders,” Reuters, 19 December 2022