Protests Against Putin in Russia. Friend Trump Is Silent

Protests Against Putin in Russia
Protests Against Putin in Russia

Although it is believed that Putin helped Donald Trump win U.S. presidential election and both have friendly relations with each other, Trump has not yet said anything about the protests against his friend Putin.

By Rakesh Raman

One of Kremlin’s staunchest critics Alexei Navalny was arrested today by police when he was leading a rally to oppose President Vladimir Putin and the March election.

Navalny and his supporters were shouting slogans calling Putin regime as a government of swindlers and thieves to highlight corruption in Russia.

Although it is believed that Putin helped Donald Trump win U.S. presidential election and both have friendly relations with each other, Trump has not yet said anything about the protests against his friend Putin.

Navalny posted a photo – which is presumed to be a scene of his arrest – on his Twitter handle without giving details of the picture.

The Sunday protests were planned in almost 100 Russian cities – including Moscow and St. Petersburg. Navalny wrote on Twitter that people braved the cold weather to come for the protest while the authorities had allowed the assembly with the assumption that people will not come.

Navalny – who has been barred from contesting election on legal charges which are believed to be manufactured by Putin government – has been holding protests to highlight the fact that Putin steals elections and democracy has been reduced to a farce in Russia.

The first phase of presidential election in Russia is scheduled to take place on March 18 and it is largely believed that Putin will manipulate the election to ensure his re-election.

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Earlier in 2014, Navalny was found guilty by a local court in a fraud case that is said to be politically influenced. Navalny, who uses digital media extensively to raise his voice against the Russian government and particularly the policies of President Putin, got a three-and-half year suspended sentence.

His brother, Oleg Navalny, was also punished by the court to spend the same period in jail. Alexei and Oleg were facing charges of misappropriation of funds in a French cosmetics company Yves Rocher, which has its Russian subsidiary. The charges included stealing company money worth 30 million rubles (about $500,000) during 2008-2012, although the brothers have denied charges.

Navalny, 41, is a Russian Opposition Coordination Council member and the leader of the Russian political party Progress Party, formerly People’s Alliance.

He has been extremely vocal against the mounting corruption in Russia and in a 2011 radio interview he called Russia’s ruling party, United Russia, as a “party of crooks and thieves.”

He has been arrested many times by the Russian authorities. In 2013, he was charged in an embezzlement case and was sentenced for five years. However, Russia’s Memorial Human Rights Center intervened in Navalny’s defense and he was released from prison just a day after sentencing.

In February 2014, he was placed under house arrest for two months and prohibited from communicating with anyone other than his family, after allegedly violating travel restrictions.

More protests are expected in Russia before the March election from Navalny and his supporters demanding the end of Putin regime and the restoration of true democracy in Russia.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: Alexei Navalny / Twitter

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