Anti-corruption protests sweep Russia, with demonstrators being detained across the country.
June 12, a national holiday known as Russia Day, usually sees mass festivities to mark the occasion of the signing of the country’s declaration of independence in 1990. This year, those taking part in historical reenactments and the SamovarFest tea party in the capital saw some 5,000 anti-corruption protestors hijack the celebrations. According to the BBC, some 200 protest permits were filed across the nation, and with 169 of these granted, cities all the way from Vladivostok to Norilsk saw protestors take to the streets. After the last-minute change of location rendred the Moscow protest unsanctioned, police had a free hand in detaining demonstrators, resulting in over 1,000 arrests in Moscow and St. Petersburg alone.
Images of young people being detained are becoming a symbol of Russian opposition movement. This time, even the massive inflatable duck was “arrested,” used to mock Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s custom-made duck house on one of his luxurious estates.
Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader at the head of the protests, was detained before he even got anywhere near to the rally and sentenced to 30 days administrative arrest. Under the likely assumption that President Vladimir Putin will run for re-election next year, Navalny intends to pose as his challenger. Navalny’s political involvement in uncovering and exposing corruption in Russian government, as well as galvanizing crowds on an unprecedented scale in hopes of promoting “a modern democratic state” for the country, has seen him dragged through the courts and detention centers over the years.
As one protestor tells Al Jazeera, “Corruption is the biggest problem. Putin is the leader of the corruption — Putin and Medvedev, of course. Putin and corruption is the same word.”
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Photo Credit: mosprofs