76-year-old dissident artist Yelena Osipova

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ABC News In-depth

Yelena Andreyevna Osipova (Russian: Елена Андреевна Осипова; born November 11, 1945)[1] is an artist and political activist from Saint Petersburg.[2][3] She became popularized in the media as “grandmother for peace” when she was arrested for protesting against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[4][5]


Osipova’s parents were survivors of the Siege of Leningrad, but the rest of her family died.[6] Her grandmother had previously worked as a security guard in the Russian Museum. Osipova studied at the Tavricheskaya Art School.[7]

Osipova is known for participation in public protests, with placards she has made herself. She has a distinctive artistic style, gentle and fluid but also bold and sometimes cartoon-like, often depicting the ghostly horrors inflicted by state violence. One of her exhibitions was described as “a cozy basement with uncomfortable images”. It included one poster, showing a mother with a dead infant. The painting was about a Tajik boy named Umarali Nazarov, who died in St. Petersburg after being forcibly taken from his mother.[8] She began publicly protesting in 2002, against the Russian’s government actions during the Moscow theater hostage crisis that led to over 100 hostages dying. She also made posters about the Beslan school siege in 2004.[7]

On 2 March 2022, Osipova was amongst those arrested in St Petersburg for protesting against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[9] Footage of her arrest was widely shared on social media.[10] On 24 March 2022, she told the BBC’s Russia Editor, Steve Rosenberg, that “after Russia attacked Ukraine, she was so shocked, she didn’t eat for three days. Then, filled with anger, she’d taken to the streets to protest”.[11]


…In her tiny St Petersburg apartment, 76yearold artist Elena Osipova shows me the anti-war placards she’s made…

in other Ukraine news:

Mariupol Worse Than WWII Siege Of Leningrad, Says Ukrainian Holocaust Survivor Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

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