ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Russians at Putin rally say they were pressured to attend

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets people after his speech at the concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022. (Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets people after his speech at the concert marking the eighth anniversary of the referendum on the state status of Crimea and Sevastopol and its reunification with Russia, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2022. (Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik Pool Photo via AP)

Russian civilians at a massive, patriotic rally featuring Russian President Putin say they were pressured to attend.

Thousands of people packed into the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for today for the patriotic rally.

Many of them told The BBC bureau in Moscow that they were public sector workers whose employers pressured them to attend.

The BBC says most people dodged journalists, many seemed ashamed, and a group of teachers were instructed what to tell reporters.

Students say they were offered a day off to attend a “concert.”

A transportation worker says he was forced to go and tells the network, “I think most people here don’t support the war. I don’t.”

Putin has clamped down on independent media since the war started and it’s difficult to conduct polling on public opinion, but many Russians do support the Kremlin during the conflict.

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