World View: Thousands Arrested in Russia as Tens of Thousands Protest in Cities Across Country

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The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Thousands are arrested in Russia as tens of thousands protest in cities across country
  • Massive protests were triggered by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption drive

Thousands are arrested in Russia as tens of thousands protest in cities across country

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrested during Sunday's protests (EPA)
Opposition leader Alexei Navalny arrested during Sunday’s protests (EPA)

In the largest protests that Russia has seen since 2012, activists in cities across Russia held large anti-government demonstrations, protesting government corruption. Ekho Moskvy, an independent Moscow radio station, estimated a total of 60,000 people participated in 82 protests around the country.

Officials said that there were 8,000 protesters in Moscow’s Pushkin Square, while activists claim that the number of protesters was closer to 20,000. Police used truncheons and pepper spray to disperse the protesters, and close to 1,000 were arrested. Russian state TV did not cover the protests, showing soap operas and nature films instead.

In St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, about 5,000-10,000 protesters assembled in the Mars Field park, shouting slogans including “Putin resign!” and “Down with the thieves in the Kremlin!” More than 100 were arrested.

About 2,000 gathered in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, carrying signs such as “No to corruption.” 1,500 people turned out in each of the Siberian cities of Krasnoyarsk and Omsk. In the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,000 people turned up. In Russia’s Far East, about 700 people turned up in the city of Vladivostok, where at least 25 people were arrested. Bloomberg and Russia Today and BBC and Politico EU

Massive protests were triggered by opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption drive

One of the people arrested in Moscow on Sunday was Alexei Navalny, head of Russia’s Progress Party, and Russia’s main opposition leader. Navalny triggered the protests earlier this week by publicly calling for marches across the country to protest corruption at Russia’s top level.

Three weeks ago, Navalny released a 50-minute slickly produced Youtube video, accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of controlling a property empire containing mansions, yachts, and vineyards, through a shadowy network of nonprofit organizations.

The video is in Russian, but has English subtitles and is quite entertaining to watch. It describes how Navalny conducted a three-year investigation that purports to show how Medvedev used his twitter account to mask millions of dollars in illegal gifts, passing through “The Foundation For Socially Important Projects.” According to Navalny, it was the silliness of that name that triggered further investigation.

The video has been watched some 13 million times. Navalny is also a master at the use of social media, which explains why he was so successful in bringing out tens of thousands of protesters in cities across Russia on Sunday.

Some of the demonstrators on Sunday held up yellow rubber ducks. That’s because one of the enormous estates that Medvedev allegedly owns has many buildings, including a sanctuary for ducks.

Navalny plans to run for President against Vladimir Putin next year, though technically he is not eligible to run because of a previous criminal conviction.

Daily Mail and Moscow Times and YouTube – Navalny documentary and Moscow Times (15-Sep-2016)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Moscow, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, The Foundation For Socially Important Projects, Ekho Moskvy, Alexei Navalny, Progress Party
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