Russian Protests 2021: Explained

8 Feb 2021  Read 4411 Views

Russia has been making headlines since thousands of the citizens have been made to go through a lot of distress and trouble. These citizens are actually protestors that have been troubled by detaining them for depicting their support for the Russian opposition leader during the protests. But let’s read once in a time. Let’s begin with the basics.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

A Russian opposition leader, lawyer, politician, anti-corruption activist who came to worldwide eminence after he initiated the anti-government demonstrations and running for office against corruption practices in Russia. Some of the speculations tell that he is also given the title of “the man Putin fears the most” by The Wall Street Journal. Navalny is the leader of the Russian of the Future party and also the founder of the Anti-corruption foundation.

He is also quite interactive with the general public like youtube where he has more than 6 million subscribers and also more than 2 million people reading his tweet on his Twitter. It is through these channels that he tries to convey the information or news about corruption that takes place within the Russian administration system. He also organises various demonstrations related to politics in the country and also promotes his campaigns. As a radio interviewer he had conducted an interview with the then ruling party of Russia which came to be described as the “party of crooks and thieves” and became the talk of the town. He is also an author to various investigations related to alleged corruptions by the officers that are posted at a high-rank. 

His influence in the state could be guessed with just the fact that he was let to run for the post of mayor for Moscow elections in the year 2013 even when he had received a suspended sentence for embezzlement.  Although he was the first runner up in the elections, he gave a difficult competition to a candidate appointed by Putin. This was not the only time he was embezzled but that has happened another time too but the bottom line to it was that both the cases were politically motivated. 

What’s happening in Russia?

Russia is witnessing a nationwide protest which was called by the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny post his arrest that was made after he returned to Moscow from Germany. This return was made for the first time since the poisoning incident took place in August 2020. Alexei was kept in a pre-trial period of almost 30 days in spite of demands made by the United States and other European countries in order to set him free. 

According to news, there have been more than 800 detentions reported. This detention is made for the people who have joined the protests and also includes Alexei’s wife and close ones. Not just that but thousands of residents have approached the streets in order to demand for releasing Alexei. They have also taken up social media to promote the protest by posting videos of it and urging people to come forward and join for  good cause till the time these mobile network services suffered outage. 

The reason why these detentions are made is mainly because the police consider the protest to be ‘illegal’ in nature. This is a chain of events that was  initiated by Alexei himself through a blog he posted on his social media account informing about the corruption that was taking place in the states. This is one of the major reasons why Alexei was banned from contesting against Putin in Presidential elections in the year 2018. He has been detained for a lot of times in the past especially from when he started his political campaigns. He has been a model of all the anti-corruption rallies taking place in the country and also the face of opposition in Russia. 

Russia has always been infamous for its ‘poisoning incidents’ that have taken place in the past. Before the August incident had taken place, he was again hospitalised after getting an allergic reaction while in jail. The reason behind such a reaction was unknown. Again in another incident, Alexei was produced a dose of bright green liquid while in Siberian city of Barnaul by one of the assailants that pretended to shake hands with Alexei. 


Putin’s response to the protests

If we look at what Putin has to say about all the incidents that provoked the protests, it would be quite clear that he is not much in support of Alexei and his condition. In one of the interviews, Putin alleged that Alexei “relies upon the support of US special services.”

He sounded quite suspicious about the whole scenario and also suggested the special services to keep an eye on every activity done on Alexei’s end. However, according to Putin, this whole scenario does not give a rise to the fact that he needs to be poisoned. In a non-serious matter but Putin had hinted to the journalists that if at all the Russian operatives wanted to kill Alexei, they would have finished doing their job by now. 

In another viral video with almost 60 million views, Alexei talks about the feature-length video that was uploaded on YouTube called “Putin palace” where Alexei alleges that the palace was afforded by a businessman for Putin near the Black sea. However, Putin has denied all such allegations of being associated with the palace.

Alexei on the other hand has announced his detention to be “blatantly illegal”. He alleges that the authorities had allowed him to move from Berlin and for treatment for the Novichok poisoning, the incident that took place in Russia in August

About the Author: Shalu Singh | 18 Post(s)

Shalu Shravan Singh, currently a final year law student, and quite enamoured of writing. A music aficionado that’s also a wanderer and desires to visit more of these places.

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