The place is Navalny now?
In jail. The 44-year-old Navalny was taken into custody after flying residence on Jan. 17 from Germany, the place he was handled for a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning in August that occurred whereas he was on a visit in Siberia. He claims Putin ordered the poisoning. The Kremlin denies any position however refuses to open a prison investigation into the episode.
Navalny, nevertheless, has three prison instances hanging over him — all of them politically motivated, he says. Any considered one of them may land him in jail for years.
So what worries Putin?
The Kremlin most fears a “coloration revolution” — huge and uncontrollable protests similar to Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, which occurred from late 2004 to early 2005, or Georgia’s Rose Revolution in 2003. So Putin’s safety forces slap down any main metropolis protests quick and exhausting, utilizing mass arrests, Web blockages, lengthy jail sentences and fixed harassment of political opponents.
What’s subsequent for Navalny’s supporters?
Navalny has referred to as for road protests. Tens of hundreds of supporters took to the streets throughout Russia on Jan. 23 and extra demonstrations are anticipated. However there are not any life like possibilities of driving Putin from energy, at the very least not within the brief time period. Even the extra modest purpose of forcing authorities to launch Navalny appears an extended shot. He has been declared an enemy of the state. At the identical time, Putin’s safety forces have expanded crackdowns in opposition to different opposition figures, journalists and activists.
Does Navalny produce other political instruments?
Undoubtedly. In reality, a lot of Navalny’s energy lies within the means to harness social media to maintain strain on Putin and his allies, exposing alleged corruption and indulgences.
On Jan. 19, Navalny’s group launched a bombshell video on YouTube accusing Putin of colossal corruption. It claimed Putin secretly constructed a palatial compound on Russia’s Black Coastline and fathered a daughter throughout an affair. The Kremlin spokesman dismissed the video as “a con” and “pure nonsense.” However it was seen greater than 25 million occasions in lower than 24 hours.
In 2017, Navalny’s YouTube channel posted video exhibiting the nation mansion of then-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev — full with its personal luxurious duck coop. Navalny organized anti-corruption rallies in 95 cities. The protest image of the day was a rubber duck. Navalny and greater than 1,000 others had been arrested, human rights observers mentioned. Mass anti-corruption protests continued by way of the yr.
How lengthy has Navalny been battling Putin?
For greater than a decade. Navalny started as a crusader in opposition to corruption. Then protests erupted in December 2011 after Putin mentioned he would run for a 3rd presidential time period. The opposition additionally alleged fraud in parliamentary elections received by Putin’s get together, United Russia. Campaigning for the presidency, Putin claimed darkish overseas forces had been making an attempt to ignite a “coloration revolution.”
In Might 2012, a “march of thousands and thousands” led to 37 individuals being charged with rioting and assaulting police. Witnesses, nevertheless, noticed no such incidents. Among the many many protest leaders had been Navalny and Boris Nemstov, who was killed by gunmen in 2015 close to Purple Sq. in Moscow.
What occurred subsequent?
A court docket jailed Navalny for 5 years in July 2013 on embezzlement prices. Navalny mentioned the costs had been political retribution. Protesters instantly flooded the streets close to the Kremlin after the sentencing. Navalny tweeted a farewell: “OK. Don’t get bored right here with out me. And most significantly, don’t dangle about. The frog received’t leap off the oil pipes itself.” He meant Putin, squatting atop an financial system constructed on oil.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the final Soviet chief, mentioned the sentence proved the Russian judiciary was not unbiased, and even some politicians near Putin expressed dismay. The strain appeared to work. Navalny was finally given a suspended sentence.
Did Navalny attempt to run in opposition to Putin?
Sure, in 2018. However he was barred from the poll by election authorities. Protests over the choice erupted in 118 cities. Navalny mounted mass protests in 90 cities after Putin received. The slogan: “He’s not our czar!” Not less than 1,612 individuals had been detained.
Later that yr, but extra protests erupted over Putin’s transfer to boost the age for pension eligibility.
And in July 2019, hundreds of individuals demonstrated in Moscow after dozens of unbiased candidates had been barred from elections. Navalny sought to carry a second rally, however authorities swooped in. He was jailed for 30 days. The protests continued into August. 9 protesters, charged with rioting or assaulting police, obtained jail sentences of as much as 3½ years.
What about in different components of Russia?
Russia’s Far East has been an sudden sizzling spot for anti-government protests.
In July 2020, authorities arrested a preferred native governor in Khabarovsk on homicide prices, which the governor denied. The Kremlin was stunned when hundreds of protesters took to the streets. The outpouring — about 3,800 miles east of Moscow — tapped into native discontent, uniting disparate political forces and lasting months. The Kremlin’s appointment of a brand new governor intensified the general public’s anger.
For Putin, it was a wake-up name on the disquiet in Russia’s distant areas. On the identical time, Belarusian chief Alexander Lukashenko confronted mass protests after a disputed election. He clung on — simply — utilizing brute power, together with torture, because the Kremlin seemed on with alarm.