Shortly after Russia shocked the world by attacking Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ilya V. Yashin, a local Moscow councilman and prominent opposition figure, decided it was time to see a dentist.
The Kremlin was in the process of criminalizing criticism of the war, and Mr. Yashin, a very vocal critic, had decided to stay in his home country and continue to oppose President Vladimir V. Putin. Eventually, he reasoned, jail time was highly likely.
“I’m honestly terrified of dentists,” Mr. Yashin said in a recent interview on YouTube, “but I got ahold of myself and did it because I realized that if I ended up in prison, there wouldn’t be any dentists there.”
decided to stay, took the opposite view, saying it was impossible to engage in politics seriously from abroad.
“You cannot be a Russian politician in New York, in Manhattan,” Ms. Albats said in a phone interview from Moscow. “You cannot call yourself a Russian politician and be in London.” Still, she conceded, “The risks are very high and they are getting higher.”
Mr. Yashin acknowledged as much in the YouTube interview posted shortly before his arrest, with the Russian journalist Yuri Dud. “I understand that each day could be my last one as a free man,” he said.
He later wrote on social media that he believed it was his clear refusal to leave, expressed in that interview, that resulted in his arrest.
photograph of women protesting the Vietnam War in 1969, saying that the hypocrisy behind the rationale for the war, expressed in the slogan “bombing for peace,” remained present today.
He was also fined in May for citing a condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan by Andrei Sakharov, the first Russian to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the well-known words of a Soviet bard who raised alarm about the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
After the invasion began in February, he continued to call out Mr. Putin’s government, holding regular livestreams on his YouTube channel criticizing the power of the security services in Russia. He also documented a visit to the penal colony holding the most prominent Russian opposition figure, Aleksei A. Navalny, and made reference to a BBC report about Russian atrocities in Bucha, the basis of his charge for distributing false information.