18-year-old Russian hounded for supporting Ukraine has killed himself

Radio Svoboda reports that 18-year-old Vlad Kolesnikov has killed himself 6 months after his defiant demonstration of opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea lost him his home, his place in technical college and led to a campaign of harassment against him. Vlad took an overdose of medication on December 25.

Vlad became known well beyond Russia in June for daring to wear a T-shirt with the Ukrainian flag and the words “Return Crimea” on it, as well as posting an anti-war banner at his technical institute in Podolsk. Vlad recalled the sheer hatred in the face of a school official after the latter saw his T-shirt, and he was first threatened by another student then attacked by a group of classmates. The police then got involved but were mostly interested in where he’d got the T-shirt.