Russian Man Fined For Wearing Shoes With Ukraine's Colors

By RFE/RL's Russian Service

Call it a fashion crime.

A court in Moscow has fined a man for wearing blue-and-yellow shoes because they were seen as a statement of support for Ukraine even though he was only out shopping.

Lawyer Ilya Utkin said on April 21 that the Butyrka district court convicted his client, whose identity has not been disclosed,
after he was picked up earlier in the month while wearing footwear that was in the national colors of Ukraine as an unsanctioned rally protesting Russia's war against its neighbor took place nearby.

According to Utkin, his client had nothing to do with the protest and was in the city center to buy gifts for his wife and daughter. But police detained him anyway, saying he was wearing "political tools" on his feet.

Since Russia launched its attack against Ukraine on February 24, there have been several unsanctioned rallies across the country protesting the invasion, with thousands arrested, including activists who held single-person protests, holding makeshift posters saying "Peace to the World," "No to War," "Fascism Will Not Pass," and others.

Some have been arrested while holding posters citing the bible, statements by President Vladimir Putin, or even with the inscription "two words" as a replacement for the banned "no war," or with a number of stars corresponding to the number of letters in the phrase "no war."

With reporting by The Insider and