In Moscow, crowds were chanting, ‘Putin the thief! Go away!’
On Sunday, a wave of protests against corrupt Kremlin leaders took place across 82 Russian cities from Moscow to Siberia. Reports say tens of thousands came out across the country in protest, and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was set to appear in court today after he and over 1,000 others were arrested in Moscow on Sunday.
Many of the protestors were youths born during Putin’s reign. Thousands of teenagers came out, with many saying that, “they hated to see the thieves at the rule of their country”. A group of 14-15 year olds were heard chanting, “while you were stealing money, we were growing!”. Olga Bychkova, the deputy chief editor of a Moscow radio station, told The Daily Beast: “today all the grandpas in the Kremlin suddenly faced the new awakening reality: thousands of teens hit the streets, they chose to be against the Kremlin and demonstrated the most classical peaceful protest.”
The 1,030 people detained is the largest number since 1993, and while only 120 people remain in custody, US and EU officials are urging Russia to let people go, “without delay”. An EU spokesperson said the action, “prevented the exercise of basic freedoms of expression”, adding, “we call on the Russian authorities to abide fully by the international commitments it has made, including in the Council of Europe... to uphold these rights and to release without delay the peaceful demonstrators that have been detained.”
Navalny called for the protests when he published a report accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of, “controlling a property empire through a murky network of nonprofit organisations”. Navalny has previously announced plans to run for president in the 2018 elections, and faces up to 15 days in police cells for inciting the protests. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation revealed details of Medvedev’s many luxurious real estates earlier this month; the report stated that Medvedev received money from companies both in Russia and further afield, but he did not deny Navalny’s claim. Navalny’s claims went viral and made thousands of Russians furious, which sparked the largest anti-Kremlin movement since 2011-2012.