ST. PETERSBURG — Five young Russian activists have landed themselves in trouble with the law after raising the Jolly Roger on a symbol of the Russian Revolution, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.
The five were taken into custody after symbolically “capturing” the legendary gunship “Aurora” in St. Petersburg on October 16.
It was a cannon shot fired from the “Aurora” that served as the signal to Russian Communist Party members led by Vladimir Lenin to storm the Winter Palace, the first move in the 1917 October Revolution that brought Lenin’s Bolsheviks to power. The vessel has been converted into a museum of the Great October Revolution.
The five members of the opposition group Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will), one of them a woman, entered the “Aurora” warship museum disguised as tourists. Three of them managed to climb a mast and fly the Jolly Roger flag and a large placard calling for measures to fight poverty.
Museum security personnel tried but failed to stop them by deploying water cannon.
WATCH — A YouTube video shows the protest and the treatment of activists who took part:
An RFE/RL correspondent at the scene reported that the activists wanted to fly a second flag from another mast, but police and firefighters prevented them.
St. Petersburg human rights activist Mikhail Druzhininsky, who coordinates and monitors protests, told RFE/RL it is difficult to ascertain where the young activists are being held and what charges have been brought against them.
The activists posted a statement on the Internet announcing their plan — codenamed Memorable October or Sunday of Aurora — to seize the “Aurora.”
They further appealed to Russians to join what they termed the nucleus of a new popular revolt.
Read more in Russian here