1600 demonstrators arrested during anti-Putin protests in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have won his rigged election in a landslide and there is little doubt that he is popular with a majority of Russian citizens.

But most Russians live in a fantasy land of propaganda created by Putin's government. Those that don't, and those that realize the authoritarian nature of Putin's rule, try to resist.

Tens of thousands of anti-Putin protesters took to the streets of 90 cities yesterday leading to more than 1600 arrests, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running against Putin last March on trumped up charges of corruption.

Reuters:

Before his detention, he briefly addressed supporters in central Moscow, leading them in chants of ‘Down with the Tsar!”.

“They said that this city belongs to Putin. Is that right?” Navalny asked his supporters. “Do you need a tsar?” he asked, eliciting a collective roar of “No!”

Putin won re-election overwhelmingly in March, extending his grip over Russia for six more years - a tenure of 24 years that would make him Moscow’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Navalny, who was barred from running in the election on what he says was a false pretext, was detained soon after showing up on Moscow’s Pushkin Square, where young people were chanting “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a Thief!”.

Video footage showed five policemen hauling him to a waiting van by his arms and legs, a scene that was repeated dozens of times with his supporters.

Early on Sunday, shortly after midnight, Navalny said on social media he had been released from custody until a court appearance, which is expected to take place on May 11.

Navalny said he had been charged with organising an unsanctioned meeting and with disobeying the police.

“Apparently the order came down not to ‘jail me before the (Putin) inauguration,’” wrote Navalny.

The penalty for the offences he is charged with could see him fined and jailed for up to 30 days.

Navalny, who has been detained and jailed numerous times for organising similar protests, said he was proud to have made it to the rally.

One protester in Moscow, wearing a rabbit’s mask with the legend “Tsar of the Animals”, said he was unsure what the protest would achieve.

“I have the feeling that people are gathering just to let off steam and that nothing will change,” said the 31-year-old man called Alexander, who declined to give his surname.

OVD-Info, a rights organisation that monitors detentions, said it had received reports of police detaining 1,597 people across Russia, nearly half of them in Moscow. Images from the Moscow protest showed pro-Kremlin Cossacks beating protesters with leather whips.

The protester may be right about nothing changing in Russia, but that hasn't eased Putin's paranoia about the Russian opposition. He continues to murder leading opposition politicians and rules by fear and intimidation. Putin's deadly reach extends to western countries where opposition figures have fled to avoid certain death.

Despite all that, we still have to deal with Putin. His nation has 1500 nuclear weapons aimed at the US and his continuing aggressiveness in Europe threatens the peace as well as the independence of other states. Trump is right to avoid a break with Russia, but he says far too little about Putin's murderous, oppressive rule.

The entire world knows Russia interferred in the US election, although it's a Democratic party myth that the intervention was anywhere near decisive. Still, Putin has no business trying to influence our politics and one wishes the president would be more decisive in calling Putin out for his meddling as well as his massive violations of human rights.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have won his rigged election in a landslide and there is little doubt that he is popular with a majority of Russian citizens.

But most Russians live in a fantasy land of propaganda created by Putin's government. Those that don't, and those that realize the authoritarian nature of Putin's rule, try to resist.

Tens of thousands of anti-Putin protesters took to the streets of 90 cities yesterday leading to more than 1600 arrests, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running against Putin last March on trumped up charges of corruption.

Reuters:

Before his detention, he briefly addressed supporters in central Moscow, leading them in chants of ‘Down with the Tsar!”.

“They said that this city belongs to Putin. Is that right?” Navalny asked his supporters. “Do you need a tsar?” he asked, eliciting a collective roar of “No!”

Putin won re-election overwhelmingly in March, extending his grip over Russia for six more years - a tenure of 24 years that would make him Moscow’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Navalny, who was barred from running in the election on what he says was a false pretext, was detained soon after showing up on Moscow’s Pushkin Square, where young people were chanting “Russia without Putin!” and “Putin is a Thief!”.

Video footage showed five policemen hauling him to a waiting van by his arms and legs, a scene that was repeated dozens of times with his supporters.

Early on Sunday, shortly after midnight, Navalny said on social media he had been released from custody until a court appearance, which is expected to take place on May 11.

Navalny said he had been charged with organising an unsanctioned meeting and with disobeying the police.

“Apparently the order came down not to ‘jail me before the (Putin) inauguration,’” wrote Navalny.

The penalty for the offences he is charged with could see him fined and jailed for up to 30 days.

Navalny, who has been detained and jailed numerous times for organising similar protests, said he was proud to have made it to the rally.

One protester in Moscow, wearing a rabbit’s mask with the legend “Tsar of the Animals”, said he was unsure what the protest would achieve.

“I have the feeling that people are gathering just to let off steam and that nothing will change,” said the 31-year-old man called Alexander, who declined to give his surname.

OVD-Info, a rights organisation that monitors detentions, said it had received reports of police detaining 1,597 people across Russia, nearly half of them in Moscow. Images from the Moscow protest showed pro-Kremlin Cossacks beating protesters with leather whips.

The protester may be right about nothing changing in Russia, but that hasn't eased Putin's paranoia about the Russian opposition. He continues to murder leading opposition politicians and rules by fear and intimidation. Putin's deadly reach extends to western countries where opposition figures have fled to avoid certain death.

Despite all that, we still have to deal with Putin. His nation has 1500 nuclear weapons aimed at the US and his continuing aggressiveness in Europe threatens the peace as well as the independence of other states. Trump is right to avoid a break with Russia, but he says far too little about Putin's murderous, oppressive rule.

The entire world knows Russia interferred in the US election, although it's a Democratic party myth that the intervention was anywhere near decisive. Still, Putin has no business trying to influence our politics and one wishes the president would be more decisive in calling Putin out for his meddling as well as his massive violations of human rights.