'Hug If You're Against the War': Man Protests Ukraine War in Russian Park

A 20-year-old man stood in the center of a Russian park on Sunday, March 19, with a sign inviting people to hug him if they opposed the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

Nikita Gorbunov, an entrepreneur from Izhevsk, told Storyful that he stood in the city’s Kirov Park for a little more than an hour on Sunday with a poster opposing the conflict.

“Hug [me] if you’re against the war,” the poster read, with a Ukrainian flag painted beneath the letters.

Gorbunov said people who came up to him were happy and expressed their gratitude, but one couple “came up and started swearing.”

They later denounced him to police, he said, and would now be witnesses to any case against him. Police can be seen approaching Gorbunov in the footage.

“I don’t seem to be in trouble, but there is a fear,” he said. “I’ll pay a fine but [the authorities] can continue, and there are some worries about this.”

He told Storyful it was “better to go to prison than go to war” in Ukraine.

“I decided to do this because I’m tired of living in fear,” he said. Credit: Nikita Gorbunov/@gor.nik_ via Storyful