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New Wave of Anti-corruption Protests Hits Russia

Organized by opposition leader Navalny on a public holiday, the protests led to mass arrests in Russia’s two largest cities. 

13 June 2017

Crowds spilled into the streets of cities across Russia yesterday in protest against high-level corruption. Hundreds of arrests followed, the BBC writes.

 

Although protests in Moscow’s Sakharov Avenue had been greenlighted by authorities, opposition leader and protest organizer Alexey Navalny posted a last-minute video on his YouTube channel announcing a change of venue, to central Tverskaya Street, on the grounds that the first location lacked a stage and proper sound systems, Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH) writes.

 

At the new venue, protesters initially mixed with crowds who came to watch a festival of re-enactments of different historical periods. Arrests happened as crowds were shouting "Russia Day!" and "Shame on you," RBTH writes. The protests in St. Petersburg followed a similar course of action, and led to arrests, while in other cities across the country, such as Ufa, Barnaul, and Irkutsk, the protests went ahead without incidents. 

 

 

Navalny didn’t get a chance to join the protesters, as he was arrested yesterday and sentenced to 30 days in jail for repeatedly calling for unlawful protests, CNN writes. During his court appearance, Navalny praised the people who followed his lead and showed their dissatisfaction at the status quo.

 

"I am very pleased that people came out, I am proud that I am a part of this movement in which brave, wonderful people are not afraid to go out on the streets – even under the threat of some detentions and so on," Navalny said, according to CNN.    


Navalny was also the organizer of protests across Russia this March, which were the biggest in Russia’s recent history, and which also led to a plethora of arrests.

 

 

  • The protests took place on Russia Day, a national holiday that celebrates the declaration of state sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Republic in 1990.
  •  

  • The estimates of the number of arrests vary from 200 in Moscow, according to opposition figures cited by RBTH, to 150 in Moscow and 500 in St. Petersburg, according to the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. OVD, an independent group monitoring arrests, cited by CNN, came up with a tally of 825 people detained in Moscow and 548 arrested in St. Petersburg.
  •  

  • The White House reacted to the arrests by asking Moscow to "immediately release all peaceful protesters,” in a rare criticism of Russia’s actions, AFP writes.
  •  

  • Oliver Stone’s four-part film, “The Putin Interviews,” started airing on Monday. “Kremlinologists have been hard at work to decipher what exactly we learn, if anything, about Putin’s and Russia’s role in the Ukraine, cyberattacks, Syria – all topics of lengthy discussion that have experts poring over the footage for signs and tells from this most slippery of statesmen. But, for the average viewer, the opportunity to watch Putin so closely, over so many hours, is mesmerizing,” the Guardian’s movie review read. 

Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

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