- Katrina Kinkulova
- BBC Russian Region
40 minutes ago
Hundreds of thousands of Russians across the country protested against the detention of opposition leader Alexenawalni. Causing dozens of protesters to be arrested Some of them were beaten by the police. But the protests continued. By this Sunday, people will come together again. How important are these protests? And why is this a concern for the Russian government?
Protest about what
The main purpose of the protests was to demand the release of anti-government activist Alexei Navalni. Who was detained immediately after returning from Germany two weeks ago
Navalny was accused of violating parole conditions in previous criminal charges, but he and his supporters rejected the charge, saying it was politically motivated and said Russian officials wanted to detain him for exposing the case. Corruption And misappropriation
In the past, the Russian government was not interested in Navalni. By seeing him only It was “an unknown blogger” and Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to even make public mention of Navalni’s name. But recently Officials were forced to comment on the allegations against him.
What is different this protest from others?
The anti-government protests on Jan. 23 were Russia’s largest in years protests.
In addition to having a large number of participants Also happened to spread throughout the country Not just in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Which is often the only frequent protests
The public has expressed support for activists in detention in all 11 different time zones of Russia.
In some cities like Yakutsk, one of the coldest areas in the world. Hundreds of people still went through the -50 degrees Celsius protest.
BBC Russian Region It counts 120 cities where protests have occurred, and this weekend, there may be protests of the same size and scope as before.
The nature of the protests is also interesting. They focus on Alexei Nawalni, who directly challenged President Putin’s power. And he is not afraid to accuse the President and his allies of abuse of power.
Over the past few years, Navalni has built a network of supporters across Russia. These people run for local elections. Campaign about various problems that arise in the area. And organize protests This is a serious threat to the Russian government.
Who is Navalni? And what does he want
Alexei Nawalni was an opposition activist investigating the corruption of high-ranking officials, so much attention was paid to the Russians. His YouTube channel has been viewed a billion times already.
He branded the main political forces of Russia. (Putin’s United Russia Party) as “the party of crooks and thieves” and over the years he has released numerous clips accusing him of the misconduct of high-ranking officials.
Navalni has been campaigning for more transparency in Russian politics for many years. And trying to make the opposition candidate win the election He ran for Moscow mayor in 2013 and was voted second. Later he tried to run for president. But was banned due to many criminal cases Which he refused and pointed out that it was political
In August 2020, Navalni was poisoned and narrowly survived. While traveling in Siberia To film a clip to check the work of the government And helped campaign for opposition candidates in local elections.
He was taken to Germany for treatment where he was found poisoned with a Russian-made Novichock neurotoxin.
Navalni accused Russian intelligence agents of poisoning him. And it is reported that He had tricked officials from the Russian intelligence service, or the FSB, to reveal details of the matter.
In talking on the phone In which Navalni had recorded the sound And later posted on his YouTube channel A spy named Konstantin Kukrievsky tells him that Novichok was put in his underwear.
Despite being warned that The return trip to Russia was unsafe. But Navalny insisted not to be a political refugee and traveled back from Berlin to Moscow.
He was detained at the airport and will continue to be detained until Feb 2 after a court hearing was held at the police station. (Which is unusual in Russia)
Navalni and supporters said The inquiry is not fair And called on the Russians to press the authorities by protesting on the streets.
Despite being detained by the police But Navalni moved even more. His team published details of the location audit they called. “Putin’s Palace” (Putin’s Palace) luxury house that has been alleged. Many of Putin’s close friends made him gifts. This clip has become their most watched clip to date.
The allegations in this video show that Putin’s insider advocated the illegal proceeds of the construction of the house. They also include oil company executives and billionaires. Video clips show both the interior and exterior of the very luxurious and majestic villa.
The video has been viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube and is still being sent quickly on tick tock. Which is very popular among the new generation of Russia
Is this a youth movement?
The movement is led by people under the age of 35, a generation that has become an adult. Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.
Alexei Nawalni is 44 years old and his team is even younger than that. His supporters come at different ages. But often young people from all over Russia.
The fact that Putin’s monitoring clips have been widely relayed and the teenagers talked about so much in tick tock may have implications that. The new generation joins the anti-corruption faction of the Navalni party. Who told them, “Don’t be afraid!”
One of the popular Tik Tok video clips before the protests was a clip in which a female student removed a picture of Putin stuck in class.
What will happen next
President Vladimir Putin said Nawalni’s latest investigation was false. And his media secretary is not too concerned with the size of the recent protests.
But there are signs that the Russian government is concerned.
Although initially claimed that Navalni was not important And insisted that If they want to kill Navalni Would have done successfully But Russian officials did everything they could to stop him from returning to Russia. But when he returned, he arranged for imprisonment as soon as he arrived in Moscow.
Before the seizure There was a sudden change in the landing airport. With the sending of riot police to prepare for The use of violence to suppress subsequent protests. Showed that The Russian government is seeing how much a threat this opposition leader is.
But what will we do with Navalni? This is a headache for the Russian authorities at the moment. If he gets hurt during detention At the risk of causing more people to protest And possibly severe international sanctions
Although he was cut down while in custody But there are also opposition leaders, like Lewbovsobol, campaigning for fair elections, both at the national and local levels.
It also depends on how much people are going to support the opposition. If the number increases to nearly a million people across the country The authorities would not be able to further claim that The protests were backed by a handful of the insurgents backed by Western nations.
No matter how Navalni and his team had done what seemed impossible in a while before. That is, the use of space in both the Russian official media. And through YouTube and other social media channels, challenging Putin’s authority in a face