The current thorn in Putin’s side is Alexei Navalny, blogger and opposition leader. Navalny was detained by police on Monday outside his home that didn’t stop the massive protests he’d organized for the same day.
NPR reports that Navalny’s wife tweeted a picture of her husband surrounded by police cars from his account early in the morning, captioning it, “Russia Day!”
Navalny organized a huge protest in March after accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of a corruption scheme that involved many high-ranking Russian politicians. Monday’s protest was planned to coincide with the national holiday for the Russian federation, as protestors met with the ordinary crowd celebrating the holiday and Russia Day Events in the streets.
BuzzFeed News reports that Navalny had received permission to hold a protest on Moscow’s Sakharova Avenue, but announced a last-minute change of plans on Sunday night, and directed people towards a street much closer to the Kremlin. The change in venue scattered protestors at first, but the BBC reports that 5,000 eventually gathered near central Moscow.
There were also supposedly permits for protests in 169 locations. According to the BBC, 600 people were arrested in Moscow and another 500 in St. Petersburg. Among them were some revolutionary young women:
Navalny has said that he is planning to run against Putin in the 2018 election, but hit a roadblock as he has technically been living with a five-year suspended prison sentence for embezzlement since February, according to Reuters. That would make a political bid illegal. At the time of his sentencing, Navalny alleged that the Kremlin is responsible for the charges and conviction.
“What we are seeing now is a sort of telegram sent from the Kremlin, saying that they believe that I, my team, and the people whose views I voice, are too dangerous to allow us to take part in the election campaign,” Navalny told reporters after receiving the ruling, “We don’t recognize this ruling. I have every right to take part in the election according to the constitution and I will do so.”