Russian Protests Against Corruption, March 2017

Huge peaceful protests against corruption occurred in 2017, in the largest demonstrations since 2011 and 2012. Since the Kremlin controls the news media it ignored the protests. In a day of demonstrations in 99 cities on March 25, the demonstrators called them “strolls” to avoid the ban on unsanctioned gatherings. Many of the protesters were teens, as seen in videos posted on social media. They carried rubber duck toys or photos of them because of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s statement that the oligarchs even build houses for their ducks. Some demonstrators painted their faces green in reference to green dye thrown at Navalny earlier in the month by a pro-government activist. The charges of corruption featured Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s accumulation of yachts and mansions in a video. Navalny’s Foundation for Fighting Corruption organized the demonstrations to expose corruption, rather than attacking Putin directly, but some protesters yelled, “Putin is a thief.” Protesters tried to block he police van carrying Navalny away and chanted, “Russia without Putin” and “This is our city” and wave Russian flags, as shown on video.[i] Around 1,000 protesters were arrested in Moscow as police quickly moved in to halt the protests. Navalny planned to run against Putin in the 2018 presidential elections, so he was convicted of fraud charges in February to make him ineligible to run for office. The US State Department condemned the arrests.


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