2021 Russian protests

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2021 Russian protests
Part of opposition to Vladimir Putin in Russia
File:Протесты в Санкт-Петербурге. 2021.jpg
A demonstration in Saint Petersburg on January 23
Date23 January 2021 – present
Russia (and other countries)
Caused by
  • Release of Alexei Navalny
  • Resignation of Vladimir Putin
Parties to the civil conflict
Lead figures
Russia of the Future logo.svg Alexei Navalny
Russia of the Future logo.svg Leonid Volkov
Russia of the Future logo.svg Lyubov Sobol
Flag of the President of Russia.svg Vladimir Putin
Russia Mikhail Mishustin
Russia Vladimir Kolokoltsev
Russia Viktor Zolotov
Arrested23 January:

The 2021 Russian protests began on 23 January 2021 in support of the arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in opposition to Vladimir Putin, and support for the release of the film Palace for Putin.[3][4][5]

Background[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Poisoning of Alexei Navalny

On 20 August 2020, Navalny was hospitalized in serious condition after he was sickened with a nerve agent during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow.[6] He was medically evacuated to Berlin and discharged on 22 September.[7][8][9] The use of a Novichok nerve agent was confirmed by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).[10][11] Though the Kremlin denied involvement in his poisoning,[12] the EU and the UK responded by imposing sanctions on six senior Russian officials and a state chemical centre.[13][14] Navalny accused President Vladimir Putin of being responsible for his poisoning.[15] An investigation by Bellingcat and The Insider implicated agents from the Federal Security Service (FSB) in Navalny's poisoning.[16]

On 17 January 2021, Navalny returned to Russia, where he was immediately detained on accusations of violating terms of a suspended jail sentence.[17] Prior to his return, the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) said that Navalny may face jail time upon his arrival in Moscow for violating the terms of his probation, saying it would be "obliged" to detain him once he returned;[18] in 2014, Navalny received a suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, which he called politically motivated and in 2017, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Navalny was unfairly convicted.[19][20] The Investigative Committee of Russia also said that it was investigating Navalny for alleged fraud.[21]

On 18 January, a court decision ordered the detention of Navalny until 15 February for violating his parole. A makeshift court was set up in the police station Navalny was being held. Another hearing would be held on 29 January to determine whether his suspended sentence should be replaced with a jail term.[22] Navalny described the procedure as "ultimate lawlessness". He also called on his supporters to take to the streets, saying: "Do not be silent. Resist. Take to the streets — not for me, but for you". Navalny's regional network head, Leonid Volkov, said that preparations were being made for protests to be organised across the country on 23 January.[23]

On 19 January, while in jail, an investigation by Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) was published, accusing Putin of corruption. The video also urged people to take to the streets.[24] Before the protests had began, the video received over 60 million views on YouTube.[25]

On 20 January, the state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded the social networks VKontakte (VK) and TikTok to stop the spread of calls to the protests.[26] The efficacy of these calls is disputed. [27]

On 21 January, police started detaining several of Navalny's aides and allies, including Lyubov Sobol.[28] Several were jailed or fined, with Sobol being released.[29] The Ministry of Internal Affairs also threatened to prosecute those spreading calls to join the protests. The Prosecutor General's Office also ordered the censor, Roskomnadzor, to block access to pages that call for protests.[30]

On 22 January, the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Moscow issued a statement warning against calls to the protests or participation in them. It stated that any attempts to hold unauthorized events as well as "provocative actions by the participants" would be regarded as a "threat to public order" and be "immediately suppressed".[31] Social media networks also began removing information about the protests. VK blocked access to a number of pages on the protests, with the pages stating that it was blocked on the requirement of the General Prosecutor's Office.[32] Roskomnadzor also stated that VK, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube blocked some content which involved "calls for children to participate in illegal mass events."[33] However, Facebook and YouTube have countered this claim. Facebook said it “received requests from the local regulator to restrict access to certain content that calls for protest. Since this content doesn’t violate our Community Standards, it remains on our platform.”[34]

Events[edit source | edit]

23 January[edit source | edit]

Protests took place 23 January in over 100 towns and cities across Russia.[35]

Reuters estimated at least 40,000 protesters gathered in Moscow.[36] Authorities gave an estimate of only 4,000 participants, while other estimates included 15,000 and 25,000 participants.[37][38] Riot police in the city began breaking up the protest and detaining participants before it was scheduled to start.[3] Alexei Navalny's wife, Yulia Navalnaya, was detained by police immediately upon her exit from Moscow′s metro station Teatralnaya;[39] she was released after being detained for 3 hours.[40] Clashes between police and protesters broke out.[3] State media reported that around 40 police officers were injured. The Investigative Committee said that it opened a probe into instances of violence against police.[41]

According to Novaya Gazeta, up to 3,000 protesters gathered in Vladivostok, about 1,000 gathered in Khabarovsk and about 10,000 protesters marched along the main street in Nizhny Novgorod.[5]

According to Tayga.info, up to 4,000 protesters gathered in Novosibirsk. Police broke up the protest using force. According to OVD-Info, over 100 people in the city were detained.[42]

Estimates of the number of protesters in Yekaterinburg varied between 5,000 and 11,000. Clashes between police and protesters broke out, with officers reportedly targeted with snowballs and smoke grenades.[3]

Estimates of the number of protesters in Perm varied between 3,000 and 10,000.[5]

In some Russian cities there were internet and mobile phone network outages. Communication issues were reported in cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don and Saratov. Twitter users in Russia also reported problems accessing the network.[43]

As of 23:30 (MSK), 3,068 people across the country have been detained with over 1,100 of them in Moscow, according to OVD-Info.[1][2]

Navalny aide Leonid Volkov said that Navalny's team plan to organize protests next weekend.[3][44]

According to the BBC, protests took place in 112 Russian cities[45].

City Number of participants Number of detainees Venues in city
Akaban - 2[46]
Almetyevsk - 3[46]
Arkhangelsk 100—300[47] 5 Trade Union Square
Balashikha - 1[46]
Barnaul - 19[46]
Belgorod - 2[46]
Biysk - 9[46]
Blagoveshchensk - 13[46]
Bor - 1[46]
Bratsk - 1[46]
Velikiye Luki - 7[46]
Veliky Novgorod - 6[46]
Vladivostok 3000[48][49] 35[46][50]
Vladimir - 1[46]
Voronezh - 2[46]
Yekaterinburg 10000[50] 7[46]—14[51]
Ivanovo 500—600[52][53] 1[52] Lenin Avenue
Izhevsk 1000—1500[54] 6[46] Central Square
Irkutsk - 3[46]
Kazan 10000[55][46] 52[46] Bauman Street, Black Lake Park, Freedom Square
Kemerovo - 4[46]
Kimry - 1[46]
Klin - 1[46]
Komsomolsk-on-Amur - 23[46]
Krasnoyarsk 1000—1500[56] 46[46]
Krasnodar 4000—6000[57] 18[2] Red Street
Kurgan - 15[46]
Lipetsk 1000[58] 11[46] Victory Square, Peter the Great Square, Lenin-Cathedral Square
Magnitogorsk - 0[46]
Makhachkala - 13[46]
Moscow At least 40,000[59] 937[46] Trubnaya Square, Strastnoy Boulevard, Pushkinskaya Square, Tverskaya Street, Petrovka Street
Magadan 150 - Сквер 60-летия (за театром)
Naberezhnye Chelny 500—600[60] 22[46] Hasan Tufan Avenue
Nizhnevartovsk 30[61] 7[61]
Nizhny Novgorod 10000[49][50] 36[46] Minin and Pozharsky Square, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street
Nizhnaya Tura - 1[46]
Novomoskovsk - 1[46] City (Soviet) Square
Novosibirsk - 90[46]
Omsk - 12[46]
Orenburg - 14[46]
Penza - 9[46] Lenin Square
Petrozavodsk - 10[46] — 23[62]
Pskov - 11[46]
Pushchino - 3[46]
Rostov-on-Don 3000[63] 50[64] Pushkinskaya street, Bolshaya Sadovaya street
Rybinsk - 2[46]
Ryazan - 3[46] Victory Square, Lenin Square
Saint Petersburg 30000[46] 378[46] Senate Square, Admiralteisky Prospect, Nevsky Prospect, Field of Mars, Vosstaniya Square
Samara 2000—3000[65][46] 45[46] Square of Glory, Square of Heroes of the 21st Army
Saratov 1000—1500[66] 0 Kirov Avenue, Theater Square
Sevastopol[67] 200[68] 6[46]
Severodvinsk 100—200 2[46]
Sergiyev Posad - 1[46]
Simferopol[67] - 8[46]
Smolensk[50] - -
Sochi 200—300[69] 2—5[69] Flag Square
Surgut 30[61] 4[61]
Syktyvkar 1000[70] -
Tarusa - 1[46]
Tver - 3[46]
Tobolsk - 3[46]
Tolyatti - 3[46]
Tomsk 2000[48] 4[46]
Tula 200 15[46]
Tyumen 1000—1500[71] 4[71] Central Square
Ulan-Ude - 4[46]
Ulyanovsk - 3[46]
Ust-Ilimsk - 4[46]
Ufa - 12[46]
Uyar - 1[46]
Khabarovsk 1000[49]— 1500[50] 28[46]
Khanty-Mansiysk 20[61] 0[61]
Kholmsk - 0[46]
Cherepovets 450[72] 0
Chita - 2[46]
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk - 14[46]
Yakutsk - 30[46]
In total - 2662[46]

In other countries[edit source | edit]

Protests were also held in cities around the world, including Berlin, Munich, Prague, Krakow, Helsinki, London, Tallinn The Hague, Vienna, Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, Tokyo and others.[73]

In The Hague, Netherlands, around 250 people gathered at a rally.[5][73]

In Berlin, Germany around 1,000 protesters were estimated to have gathered at a rally.[73]

In Tel Aviv, Israel, around 1,500 to 2,000 people were estimated to have gathered at a rally near the Russian embassy. Due to COVID-related restrictions, the crowd was asked to disperse by the organizers. Several hundred demonstrators then moved towards the Russian embassy. Another 600 to 1000 protesters were estimated to have gathered at a rally in Haifa.[74][75][73]

In Copenhagen, Denmark around 150 people gathered in front of the Russian Embassy.[76]

In Stockholm, Sweden around 80 people gathered outside the Russian embassy.[77] In Gothenburg, around 20 people gathered outside the Russian consulate.[78]

Reactions[edit source | edit]

International[edit source | edit]

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned "the Russian authorities' use of violence against peaceful protesters and journalists" and he also called on the Russian government to "release citizens detained during peaceful demonstrations". The British Foreign Ministry in a statement said that it was "deeply concerned by the detention of peaceful protesters" and that it was continuing "to monitor the situation closely".[79]

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said: "We call on Russian authorities to release all those detained for exercising their universal rights".[79]

Gallery[edit source | edit]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Список задержанных на акциях в поддержку Алексея Навального 23 января 2021 года". ovdinfo.org. 23 January 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "As It's Happening: Russia Rallies for Navalny's Release". The Moscow Times. 23 January 2021.
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  8. Zverev, Anton; Tétrault-Farber, Gabrielle; Ivanova, Polina; Teterevleva, Anastasia; Kiselyova, Maria (27 August 2020). Rao, Sujata (ed.). "Russian prosecutors say no need for criminal investigation in Navalny affair". Reuters. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
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  46. 46.00 46.01 46.02 46.03 46.04 46.05 46.06 46.07 46.08 46.09 46.10 46.11 46.12 46.13 46.14 46.15 46.16 46.17 46.18 46.19 46.20 46.21 46.22 46.23 46.24 46.25 46.26 46.27 46.28 46.29 46.30 46.31 46.32 46.33 46.34 46.35 46.36 46.37 46.38 46.39 46.40 46.41 46.42 46.43 46.44 46.45 46.46 46.47 46.48 46.49 46.50 46.51 46.52 46.53 46.54 46.55 46.56 46.57 46.58 46.59 46.60 46.61 46.62 46.63 46.64 46.65 46.66 Сколько людей задержали на акциях «Свободу Навальному!» в разных городах России?
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  79. 79.0 79.1 "US and UK condemn 'harsh tactics' as hundreds of Alexei Navalny supporters arrested amid mass protests". Sky News. 23 January 2021.

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