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The Putin Pub in Jerusalem is looking for a new name

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

It would be hard to count how many thousands of people protested over the weekend against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. People flowed around the landmarks in Berlin and in London.

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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) Stop Putin. Stop the war. Stop Putin. Stop the war. Stop Putin. Stop the war.

MARTINEZ: Protesters held rallies in the U.S., Japan and Australia. Thousands also marched in protest in Iran. And within Russia itself, protests broke out in multiple cities, even though police frequently shoved people into vans and then drove away. A human rights group says at least 3,000 people have been arrested since Thursday.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here in the United States, actors acknowledged the conflict at the Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony, including the lead of the HBO drama "Succession," Brian Cox.

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BRIAN COX: For those people, the people in Russia who don't like what's going on and particularly the artists. And I think we should really join in celebrating them and hoping that they can actually make a shift, as I believe they can.

(APPLAUSE)

INSKEEP: A lot of Russian artists have spoken out, but New York's Metropolitan Opera is suspending ties to Russian artists and institutions who are allied with President Vladimir Putin. Facebook's parent company, Meta, says it's removed Russian accounts that were working to spread disinformation about the war and even some bots that were trying to hack Ukrainian military officials and journalists.

MARTINEZ: In Jerusalem, where owners of the Putin Pub are now waging their own protest. That's the bar popular with Russian-speaking immigrants. They're changing their name, NPR's Daniel Estrin reports.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: The Putin Pub has been around for about 22 years. The Russian-speaking owners named it after Putin as a gimmick when he first ran for president. But last week, on the first day of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian-born owner Leon Teterin yanked off the sign.

LEON TETERIN: (Through interpreter) We think we did the right thing. We're getting away from politics. This is supposed to be a happy place, not to make people feel they're somewhere aggressive or some dictator.

ESTRIN: He kisses a customer whose mom's in a shelter in Ukraine. He's texting with a pub regular who's sheltering with her parents in Kyiv. And behind the bar is 25-year-old bartender Sima Kogan, a refugee from Russia's 2014 war with eastern Ukraine. Her dad was killed in Donetsk. Her mom is now sheltering in a Kyiv metro station. And she lights up about one thing - the pub's name change.

SIMA KOGAN: How I was happy today (laughter).

ESTRIN: Israel has one of the world's biggest Russian-speaking diasporas, a million immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and other Soviet states. Many have close family now under bombardment, while Israel's leaders are walking a tightrope.

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PRIME MINISTER NAFTALI BENNETT: (Speaking Hebrew).

ESTRIN: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, "We are conducting a measured and responsible policy," which is keeping good relations with Ukraine's Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, welcoming new Ukrainian Jewish war refugees and also staying friends with Putin. He lets Israel bomb targets in Syria. Zelenskyy asked Israel to mediate a cease fire, and Bennett suggested it to Putin.

SHLOMI AZRAN: (Speaking Hebrew).

ESTRIN: At the bar, 40-year-old Israeli Shlomi Azran agrees with Russia's claim that Ukraine hasn't done enough to go after Nazi sympathizers and hopes Putin topples the Kyiv government with minimal civilian harm. The bar owner reaches for the box where he's storing the P, U, T, I and N from the sign outside. He's soliciting ideas for a new name.

TETERIN: (Speaking Hebrew).

ESTRIN: But he doesn't want to ever touch those five wooden letters again. Daniel Estrin, NPR News, the pub formerly known as Putin in Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELIOR, LEAVE'S "TIBAU") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.