Russian activist on decision to speak out 'in memory of my daughter'

ABC News’ Stephanie Ramos sat down with Russian civil rights activist Anastasia Shevchenko to discuss her new documentary “Anastasia” and her journey for closure.
6:20 | 12/08/22

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Transcript for Russian activist on decision to speak out 'in memory of my daughter'
 NOW ON DISPLAY AT AN ART GALLERY IN LAGOS. SHE WAS SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS OF HOUSE ARREST FOR HER WORK WITH THE OPEN RUSSIA MOVEMENT, CAUSING HER TO MISS THE FINAL DAYS OF HER DYING DAUGHTER'S LIFE. IN A NEW DOCUMENTARY, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST ON THE STAGE CHRONICLES HER JOURNEY TO SPREAD HER DAUGHTERS EYELASHES AND TO BUILD A NEW LIFE FOR HER OTHER CHILDREN OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA. ABC'S STEPHANIE RAMOS SPOKE TO HER ABOUT HER ACTIVISM, HER FAMILY, AND HER HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. >> SO, THE DOCUMENTARY IS CENTERED AROUND THE FOLLOWED FROM YOUR WORK WITH THE OPEN RUSSIAN MOVEMENT. WORK THAT EVENTUALLY LED YOU TO SPENDING HOUSE ARREST FOR TWO YEARS. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU? >> FIRST OF ALL, WHY I WAS UNDER HOUSE ARREST DURING TWO YEARS? JUST BECAUSE I TOOK PART IN A PROTEST AGAINST PUTIN. [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH] >> THEY PUT ME UNDER HOUSE ARREST WITHOUT POSSIBILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH ANYONE. I COULDN'T LEAVE THE APARTMENT. JUST STAYING AT ALL TIMES AT HOME. NO INTERNET, NO COMMUNICATION, NO PHONE CALLS, JUST NOTHING. I WAS SEPARATED FROM MY ELDER DAUGHTER WHO DIED A WEEK AFTER THE HOUSE ARREST. AND IT WAS, I CAN'T EVEN DESCRIBE HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS, BECAUSE I WAS STANDING IN FRONT OF THE JUDGE DURING THE HEARIN, AND BEGGING HIM PLEASE, LET ME SEE MY DAUGHTER, SHE IS DYING. IN THE HOSPITAL, RIGHT NOW, AND SHE NEEDS ME. SHE REALLY NEEDS ME. AND HE JUST SMILED AND THAT'S IT. ONLY TWO DAYS AFTER THEY LET ME GO TO THE HOSPITAL AND SEE HER, BUT IT WAS JUST AN HOUR BEFORE SHE DIED. [SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH] >> THEY LET ME SEE HER FOR TEN MINUTES, AND I TOOK HER HAND, AND IT WAS COLD. THERE WAS NO LIFE IN HER BODY ANYMORE. IN A COUPLE OF HOURS, WHEN I WENT HOME, THEY INVESTIGATE AND ASK ME TO WRITE PERMISSION TO ATTEND MY DAUGHTER'S FUNERAL. AND I HAD TO WRITE EVERY DETAI, WHERE I AM GOING, WHAT I AM GOING TO DO THERE, WHAT PART IS GOING TO DRIVE ME THERE AND BACK. AND OF COURSE, NOBODY COULD COME UP TO ME AND SAY SOMETHIN, OR HUD, JUST ME STANDING THERE ALONE. THIS DICTATORSHIP MAKES SO MANY PEOPLE SUFFER, AND I FEEL LIKE THIS FILM, ANASTASIA, IS NOT ABOUT ME AS A MOM GRIEVING ABOUT THE DEATH OF HER CHILD, BUT THIS IS ABOUT MY DAUGHTER. AND MY MISSION IS TO TELL HER STORY. >> LOOKING BACK AT YOUR POSITION, TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT. WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS NOW SO MANY YEARS LATER? >> I WAS ASKING THIS QUESTION TO MYSELF HUNDREDS OF TIMES. I DECIDED THAT I WOULDN'T RESPECT MYSELF, AND MY CHILDREN WOULDN'T WEAR SPECTRUM IF I JUST DO NOTHING. SO I DO NOT THINK THAT THAT WAS A MISTAKE. I PROTEST AGAINST PUTIN, EVEN ABROAD, AND I RISK ANYTIME I SAY SOMETHING AGAINST HIM, I DO RISK, BUT I NEED TO DO IT, JUST IN MEMORY OF MY DAUGHTER. >> WE HAVE SEEN THE FILM, YOUR JOURNEY, TO SAY A FINAL GOODBYE TO HER, SPREADING HER ASHES IN THE CITY. TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT AND WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT WITH YOUR FAMILY? >> IT WAS A VERY TOUGH DECISIO, BECAUSE NOT TO SAY GOODBYE, TO SAY GOODBYE IN CAMERAS. WE ALL WANTED IT TO BE A PRIVATE MOMENT FOR ONLY OUR FAMILY. I REALLY CONVINCED THEM THAT IT CAN BE IMPORTANT TO TELL HER STORY, AND TO SHOW PEOPLE HOW RUSSIANS ARE RESISTING THIS REGIME. HOW IT IS ACTUALLY DANGEROUS. FOR ME, IT WAS VERY A SPECIAL MOMENT TO PUT THE ASHES IN THE SEA. IT WAS SUCH A MOMENT WHEN I FELT LIKE IT WAS JUST MY DAUGHTER AND ME. THAT IS IT. >> HOW IS THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY HANDLING THIS CHANGE LIVING ABROAD, AND ALSO THE PASSING OF ALINA, AND EVERYTHING YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN THROUGH? >> AFTER THE WAR BEGAN, WE DECIDED TO LEAVE RUSSIA, AND WE HAD TO BECAUSE WE WERE CLOSE TO RUSSIA, AT THE SAME TIME ZONE. SO MY SON NOW, HE IS STUDYING IN RUSSIAN SCHOOL, AND MY DAUGHTER IS STUDYING POLITICS. BUT IMAGINE, THERE ARE SO MANY STUDENTS FROM BELARUS, AND UKRAINE, AND RUSSIA, AND ALL OF THEM FLOOD BECAUSE OF ONE DICTATOR. SOME FAMILIES, AND THEIR HOUSE, THEIR PARENTS ARE IMPRISONED, SO MANY SUFFER BECAUSE OF THIS DICTATORSHIP. >> YOU AND THE DOCUMENTARY VERY OPTIMISTIC SAYING THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR CHILDREN WOULD BE THE GENERATION TO END THIS OPPRESSION. ARE YOU STILL THAT HOPEFUL? >> YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES I SOUND NAIVE, AND VERY OPTIMISTIC, BUT THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT I HAVE HOPE. AND I THINK THAT RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTIN THE ONLY THING HE WANTS TO DESTROY, INSIDE YO, REPRESSING YOU IS YOUR HOPE. IF YOU STOP HOPING, THEN YOU WILL STOP STRUGGLING AND FIGHTING. >> THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. AND OUR

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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