Images And Movies Of Russia’s Professional-Democracy Protests
The Russians defy the weather and police brutality to demand the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Last updated Jan 23, 2021 at 5:07 PM ET
Posted on Jan 23, 2021 at 2:59 pm ET
Vasily Maximov / Getty Images
Thousands of Russians in 200 cities from Moscow to Siberia defied the freezing temperatures and the brutality of the police during protests against democracy on Saturday.
The demonstrations were in response to the attempted murder and subsequent arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which caused anger among Russian citizens.
From Vladivostok to Kaliningrad (10,000 km in between), from cities such as Irkuts to southern Sochi, Siberia came to the streets. There isn’t enough independent media outside Moscow to know the vibe there in detail, but it says #Navalny https://t.co/Ta4FZn1cfO
16:58 – January 23, 2021
Navalny was poisoned last August and taken to Germany for treatment, where doctors confirmed that the chemical agent Novichok had been used. Navalny then, along with Bellingcat, a news agency, helped investigate his own assassination attempt. As you know, he called an involved FSB agent and brought him to a confession.
The opposition leader returned to Russia on January 17, where he was immediately arrested. His team released another investigation two days later, allegedly showing President Vladimir Putin’s palace on the Black Sea. The investigation was accompanied by calls by Navalny to protest on January 23, which were followed closely.
Kirill Kudryavtsev / Getty Images
According to protest tracking website OVD-Info, there have been over 3,000 arrests across the country, including 16 reporters, most in the past four years. It is not known how many people across the country attended, but videos and pictures show tens of thousands of people on the street.
Donat Sorokin / Donat Sorokin / TASS
In Siberia, people protested in -60F weather.
In Irkutsk, a small town on the border with Mongolia, thousands filled the streets.
Protesters also lined the streets leading to the Kremlin in Moscow.
And thousands marched in St. Petersburg.
Protesters in Moscow threw snowballs at nearby police officers.
In the circus on Trubnaya, police officers were thrown with snowballs, they were clearly confused Video: Yulia Sugueva / Mediazona
2.37 p.m. – January 23, 2021
However, it was not long before police used force during the protests, which were previously considered illegal.
A video shows a woman being kicked in the stomach. According to Mediazona news agency, the woman had a concussion and was taken to the hospital.
The riot policeman kicked the woman in the stomach when she tried to help the detained man. Video: “Fontanka”
15:54 – 23 Jan 2021
In another video, police are seen molesting a young child while the crowd yells for them to be let go.
A reporter who was arrested and subsequently released recorded that people were beaten in police buses.
Another video shows a woman being taken away by two plainclothes men.
The US embassy in Russia tweeted in support of the protests, and the Russian State Department later described the tweet as “hypocrisy”.
We are witnessing reports of protests in 38 Russian cities, arrests of more than 350 peaceful demonstrators and journalists. The US supports the right of all people to peaceful protest and freedom of expression. The measures taken by the Russian authorities suppress these rights.
12:40 – 23 Jan 2021
Most of the eye-catching photos and videos show demonstrators banding together against the police and sometimes addressing their consciences.
Undaunted by the police response and government condemnation, Navalny’s organization called for further protests next week.
“This was the first step on the road to victory,” tweeted the Anti-Corruption Foundation. “I’ll see you again in a week.”